It’s 2012, so hopefully we’re all clear that you can’t believe everything you read on the Web. Sometimes, though, a piece of Web BS is so utterly ridiculous that it’s worth reading for pure entertainment value. This site claiming that Marc Andreessen is opening a new fund in China is a perfect example.
I have no idea how long the site has been around, although the copyright is this year. I just stumbled upon it this week and its existence may explain a few strange conversations I’ve had with Chinese entrepreneurs asking about Andreessen’s China fund. It’s also one of the funniest scams I’ve read all year.
To anyone who knows Andreessen (disclosure: PandoDaily investor), it’s obviously a scam. He’s is actually a bit of a contrarian when it comes to China. His firm, Andreessen Horowitz, is one of the only major firms in the Valley that is not investing in China, or in any emerging markets for that matter.
But the joker/scammer who put up the “AFund” Web site would have you believe otherwise. From the site:
The fund was founded by Marc Andreessen, a famous venture investor in Silicon Valley. It aims to test water in the Chinese investment market before China’s opening the financial market. Most of the fund will be injected into Andreessen Horowitz affiliated to Marc Andreessen. Some of them will be put into Chinese local Internet enterprises in a bid to penetrate into the fast-growing Chinese Internet market. China is the investment market with the greatest potential currently. With the rapid growth of GDP in recent years and the gradual internationalization of financial policies, China will see the sharp increase in both capital and projects in the years to come. This is an important reason for us to especially establish the Chinese fund and enter the Chinese market.
I don’t know how convincing the Chinese version is, as I can’t read Chinese. But the English one is about as convincing as an email from a Nigerian prince. Among the tells: There’s no mention in the entire site of LoudCloud or Opsware — a fairly significant milestone in Andreessen’s career. It also says he became “an instant billionaire” in Netscape’s IPO. There’s also a frighteningly gritty version of the Twitter logo under the section on Andreessen’s portfolio. A majestic eagle (seen above) is the art on the main page, either because Andreessen is also bald or because of, you know, America.
And then there are quotes that I’m pretty sure Andreessen never said. Like this one: “I am full of enthusiasm about everything I did in Silicon Valley for years, I love to establish companies, I love to start my own business, I love technology-based enterprises, I love new technique, I love the entire process of creation, I am an entrepreneur, a man who invents products, an investor and a board member, so many identities, I think I will obtain rich and generous outcomes.”
One of my favorite lines is a description of Andreessen: ”…with the height of 196 cm, and a baby face, Marc Andreessen loves to communicate with people, he is humorous and talkative and he is always an eloquent lecturer.”
If you click enough, you get to a section where it asks for your bank details.
It’d actually be pretty funny if it didn’t highlight a big reason that investors like Andreessen don’t invest in China: Because of a fear of loose regulations and getting scammed.