My name is Andrew Anker, I live in Woodside, California with my wife and have three grown children. I enjoy pursuing new challenges and accordingly, my career has spanned a variety of roles including company founder, executive, investor, banker and coder.
I am mostly retired. I left Facebook at the end of 2017 and while I always like to hear from people, I am unlikely to take on any additional commitments in the near future. I have been enjoying the time off, spending time with my family, gardening and hiking.
During the pandemic, I began constructing crossword puzzles again and then open sourced a related project for word list building. Through these efforts, I met a young entrepreneur who was interested in starting a company to help broaden the market for both constructors and solvers. I ended up stepping in as head of product and we recently soft launched our site Crosswordr. I hope you give it a try — check out my profile to see a bunch of my own puzzles.
From mid 2015 until the end of 2017, I was director of product management at Facebook (the blue app) focused on media products. Much of my time there was spent building out the news team and working on integrity, credibility and fact checking in the post-2016 election era. I helped expand Facebook’s video presence as part of the team that added casting to the blue app and launched the company’s first apps for Apple and Android TV.
A few months after leaving Facebook, I sat for an interview with Frontline about my time at the company.
I joined Facebook after the acqui-hire of my previous company, Tugboat Yards, which I co-founded with Brad Whitaker in July 2012. Tugboat built an audience management platform to help internet media sites with subscription monetization. We were kind of early on that.
From 2004 through 2011, I worked at blogging platform provider Six Apart and then, upon its acquisition, at Say Media. At both companies, I ran corporate development, the highlight of which was our purchase of LiveJournal in early 2005.
In late 1992, I helped raise the start-up capital for the launch of Wired magazine and then joined as the company’s chief technology officer. While at Wired, I wrote the original business plan for and ran Wired Digital, which was responsible for all of the magazine’s online efforts including launching the first advertising banner in October 1994. At Wired Digital, we created HotWired, Wired News, HotBot, Webmonkey, Suck and a number of other good websites. Wired’s online operations were one of the 20 largest web networks in the world at my departure in 1998 and were ultimately purchased by Lycos in June 1999. Soon after, Lycos was purchased by Terra and pretty much everyone involved left and most of the Wired sites died silent and sad deaths.
My early career was spent mostly in investment banking, I worked for five years at predecessor firms to Credit Suisse and UBS covering media, technology and communications. I worked for two years at boutique merchant bank Sterling Payot and spent a year as a coder at another start-up which unfortunately was not successful.
Investing, Boards and Other Projects
I have been a semi-active angel investor for many years and have made seed-stage investments in a range of companies in the tech and media space including LinkedIn (purchased by Microsoft) and Gimlet Media (purchased by Spotify).
Along with my wife Renée, I was executive producer of the documentary film The Cult of JT LeRoy. We premiered it at DOC NYC in late 2014.
I was chairman of Ebates Inc. from 2007 through 2014, when the company was purchased by Rakuten. I originally invested in Ebates in 2000 and joined the board seven years later. The Ebates website was renamed to Rakuten a few years after the acquisition, because corporate strategy.
From 1998 through 2003, I was a general partner at August Capital. It was a short stint, I realized pretty quickly that I did not enjoy full-time investing. While at August I focused on consumer facing internet companies and led the partnership’s investments in such companies as Tickle (purchased by Monster Worldwide), Rhapsody (purchased by Real Networks) and Evite (purchased by Interactive Corp).
I served on the boards of Loudeye (purchased by Nokia), Accrue Software (purchased by Datanautics) from each company’s founding until 1999 and was a director of public company Geeknet (which owned SorceForge and ThinkGeek) from late 2004 until mid 2011.
I graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University in 1987 and have studiously avoided formal education ever since.