Out of Office: Andreesen Horowitz & Cultural Leadership Fund’s Chris Lyons

A Managing Partner at Andreesen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most influential venture capital firms, Chris Lyons also runs the company’s Cultural Leadership Fund, the first consisting of 100% African American limited partners.

To date, CLF has invested in over 65 startups at the intersection of culture and innovation, and across multiple industries including consumer, enterprise, crypto, and fintech. Lyons also created Silicon Valley’s first “influencer network,” establishing numerous strategic partnerships between emerging technology companies and seasoned athletes, entertainers, musicians, and corporate executives. In 2019, he was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People.

But Lyons has a very atypical Silicon Valley success story.

He started his music business career as a sound engineer for Grammy-winning producer Jermaine Dupri, and initially went out to Silicon Valley for what he assumed would be a short trip. But in 2013, Lyons landed a position as Chief of Staff to Ben Horowitz, the Andreesen Horowitz co-founder, where his smarts, hustle, and well-developed network accelerated his rise through the ranks.

In this episode of “Out of Office,” Lyons talks to Rich and Gianni about how invaluable his music business background has been to his Silicon Valley success; the seeds of his friendship with Rich and KD; how he ended up founding Italian wine brand, Lyons Wine; and his passion for diversifying the ranks of tech entrepreneurs and VC professionals.