Why I left Andreessen Horowitz to join Instabase

Nov 19,2019

Six months ago, I left one of the top VC firms in Silicon Valley for a startup with no sales team, no website, and no marketing leads. You’re probably wondering — what was he thinking? Leaving Andreessen Horowitz for a startup that most people outside of the VC world had never heard of is a risky move, and in hindsight, it was a bit crazy. In my first month at Instabase, one of the key banking executives I worked with closely at Andreessen Horowitz wanted to come by and learn more about Instabase. He was welcomed by a reception being used for overflow meetings, 3 phone booths, and a tent by the kitchen. When we closed the door to our only conference room, he paused — “Mark, are you nuts?”

I’d spent five incredible years at Andreessen Horowitz but I was itching for a new challenge. After seeing hundreds of entrepreneurs and start-ups pitch in my time at Andreessen Horowitz, it was evident to me that Instabase was unique. What was so intriguing about Instabase was that, for an early-stage startup, they already had large enterprise customers and were solving real problems like identity and income verification during loan and mortgage application processes. I was sold on joining Instabase because it meant that I could have the ability to change the cost-to-income ratio at some of the world’s largest financial institutions. In addition, the Instabase team is special. It is rare in Silicon Valley to see this caliber of engineering talent solving enterprise problems and I wanted to find a way to contribute to their vision.

Over the years at Andreessen Horowitz meetings with Fortune 500 and Global 2000 executives and their teams, I noticed that attendees were always impressed by the cloud, big data, open source, and security technologies. However, a number of themes kept popping up that made these topics challenging:

  • How does adopting the cloud help speed up my loan process?
  • How can I upskill my workforce so that a data analyst can become a data scientist?
  • How does using big data technologies help address my increasing operational costs?

I saw that Instabase had a unique approach to these challenges:

  • Instabase mounts to where your data resides and provides both physical and logical separation to comply with regulations.
  • Instabase’s extraction techniques enable business analysts and app developers to build programs for their specific needs.
  • The Instabase apps enable organizations to build end-to-end solutions for slow processing time and manual tasks.

Now these executives can see results like:

  • Automating income and identity verification in loan application process which reduces processing time from 10 days to 15 seconds.
  • Processing millions of documents and extracting relevant information to feed business systems and decisions.
  • Improving customer experience by speeding up transcription processes and reducing the need for manual intervention and error review.

Since joining, this “small startup” has more than doubled in size, raised a $100M Series B funding round, and moved to an office where the reception area doesn’t have to be used as a conference room. I’m excited to be part of the Instabase team working with major financial institutions, healthcare, shipping and logistics, and government organizations who are looking to solve their key operational challenges — including a certain banking executive who visited Instabase, called me nuts, and is now a customer. 🙂