Silicon Valley VC Marc Andreessen is having a nice little career investing in startups that use tech to challenge existing business sectors in ways that, well, "rankle" the guys that regulators are tasked with protecting.
With a portfolio that includes Lyft, Airbnb and a small flotilla of Bitcoin-focused startups, Andreessen has more than once found his money caught up in the kind of political tugs of war that Valley visionaries just cannot stand.
Frankly, it's time for a guy like Marc to get a regulation-blasting cannon for the office.
Enter Ted Ullyot, former general counsel at Facebook and newly-minted head man of Andreessen Horowitz's policy group.
Andreessen is starting the new group to handle tricky policy issues that have started to affect many of its portfolio companies, ground that Facebook had to cross early on, Ullyot said in an interview.
“As I look around the landscape today, you have many companies today in a similar position to where Facebook was in the early days,” he said.
By "Facebook's early days," Ullyot is likely referring to that sepia-hued era between 2004 and 2008 when one could even entertain the notion of suing Facebook over privacy issues and not have to contend with a Harvard-educated, former Scalia clerk hell-bent on protecting his hoodie-wearing bosses.
And now he's taking his talents to the world of Marc Andreessen, where they seemingly be applied to in-house thought leadership on more easily disrupting everybody and teaching the the world to love drones.
The firm has no shortage of portfolio companies facing regulatory or political hurdles as Washington and state regulators are increasingly focused on updating privacy laws, setting new rules for sharing-economy companies like Airbnb or drafting new safety regulations for the burgeoning drone industry.
But while Ullyot will be a major regulatory voice within the company, he and his new bosses are taking subtle pains to make it murkily clear that he will almost probably not be acting as a lobbyist.
For now, there are no plans to open a Washington office, Ullyot said, although the firm is likely to add more policy-focused talent in his new division in the coming year.
So in a few months, when your rental drone drops you off at the Aribnb that you paid for through your Bitcoin purse, you know who you can thank for making it all possible.