Washington - The co-founder of pioneering Web browser company Netscape, Marc Andreessen, and a partner announced the launch on Monday of a venture capital firm with initial funding of $300 million.

Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, former chief executive of Opsware, said the firm, Andreessen Horowitz, "will fund technology start-ups with investments ranging from $50 000 and $50 million."

In a statement, they described Andreessen Horowitz, which will be based in Menlo Park, California, as a "new, modern venture capital firm designed to support the needs of today's entrepreneurs."

"Innovation is thriving despite the current economic climate," said Andreessen. "Ben and I are huge supporters of entrepreneurs and want to help turn today's sparks of brilliance into the next big thing."

The statement said the firm "will focus on investing in start-ups in the technology sector, including back-end infrastructure and consumer Internet start-ups.

"Andreessen Horowitz will look to invest in a broad range of innovative technology from cloud computing, networking, and enterprise applications to consumer Internet companies and social media businesses," it said.

Andreessen and Horowitz have independently invested in more than 45 companies including LinkedIn and Twitter.

"We've had some time to test our investment approach and support great entrepreneurs," said Andreessen. "After years of angel investing, we decided to go pro and raise a fund."

Andreessen currently serves on the boards of eBay and Facebook, and is chairman of the board of Ning, an online platform for creating social networks.

Besides heading up product divisions at Netscape, Horowitz co-founded Loudcloud, later renamed Opsware, with Andreessen in 1999. It was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2007. - AFP