There is no future for Andreessen Horowitz’s tech publication. The venture capital firm known as “a16z” launched Future in 2021 in the hopes of bringing tech news and information directly to readers. It was a way to circumvent traditional media, an ambitious attempt to build something new from scratch. However, things have changed in recent months, and now, Andreessen Horowitz’s Future has bit the dust.
The content centered around tech and society, with high-profile editors pushing out content full of hope. When it all began, Margit Wennmachers, an operating partner at the firm, said, “We’re going to be having an optimistic lens on technology and the future.” Others shared the optimistic view.
- At the time of the launch, The New Yorker said it was an “opportunity to introduce new terminology, new ideologies, new framing, and new ways for people in and around technology to conceptualize their work.”
- Protocol, which recently shut down as well, posited it being “the future of media.”
It did not last long. Despite executives from the firm, outside experts, and veteran editors, the publication crumbled in a year and a half. Even before reports that the publication was closing for good, content stopped appearing on the site. New articles have not been published in months, and the newsletter has been discontinued.
- Many left the startup, including its executive editor, Maggie Leung, and managing editor, Amelia Salyers. Other editors and experts have also left the publication, making its demise all the more clear.
- Its downfall occurred despite the fact that it had the powerful backing of big names and investors.
- After slow growth, traffic started to decline in 2022, going from 1.3 million visits earlier in the year to around 420,000 in October.
Tech still wants to go direct, even if Future’s attempt did not go as planned. Companies want to engage with their customers, cutting out the middlemen who often have a different agenda in mind. At the same time, venture capitalists have long looked to connect directly with founders, regardless of the medium.
- Publications, newsletters, and podcasts were a way for investors to stand out when funding was everywhere and startups had the luxury of choice.
- Going direct offers investors and companies the ability to avoid publications relying solely on adversarial reporting, which is often viewed as purposefully hostile.
Companies are building fully-functional editorial arms. Ultimately, they are looking to go direct, just like Future tried to do. Doing that gives them the control they want while avoiding the things they do not, allowing them to drive conversations.
Andreessen Horowitz remains dedicated to going direct. Even in the face of Future shutting its doors, the firm is still confident in the direct approach. The difference is that the firm has realized there is no need to build a brand from scratch when it already has a solid reputation and prominence in the tech industry.
The firm has chosen to post content directly on its websites instead, while its podcasts will be pushed via YouTube. Andreessen Horowitz was an early adopter of the direct approach, using it as a selling point to tell others: “We have this powerful content program so we will help promote who you are.” Despite the departure of Future, the firm seems to have no plans of stopping now.
Spencer Hulse is a news desk editor at Grit Daily News. He covers startups, affiliate, viral, and marketing news.