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Forget Fixing Bad Banks; Go Direct: Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen was all of 27 when he sold his first start-up for more than $1 billion, Netscape. Having sold another start-up for more than $1 billion, and presciently backed others' winners, such as Digg and Facebook, Andreessen is someone people tend to listen to.

Marc Andreessen was all of 27 when he sold his first start-up for more than $1 billion, Netscape. Having sold another start-up for more than $1 billion, and presciently backed others' winners, such as Digg and Facebook, Andreessen is someone people tend to listen to.Direct banks are the way forward for the financial industry, he told Charlie Rose in a recent interview, joining a call for the government to focus on helping new direct banks to start rather than fixing the "bad banks" we have. The relevant section can be seen at 48:20 minutes into the video below.

The Silicon Valley guru also revealed his latest move during the March interview: starting an (unnamed) venture capital firm. "Andreessen Crosses Over to the Dark Side," was how the Wall Street Journal's digital edition characterized Andreessen's move from technologist to investor in technology.

Certainly, plenty of financial industry commentators are suggesting that the crisis will benefit Internet-only banks, including George Tubin, senior research director with Needham, Mass.-based TowerGroup, whose latest research is the focus of a forthcoming BS&T story.

But how disinterested Andreessen's stance towards direct banks is, along with the timing of his appearance on Charlie Rose to promote his new fund, will be best gauged once we see what kind of technology ventures it backs. Direct banks, maybe?

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