July 19, 2008
Posted by Gordon Smith

If you don't recognize those initials, I assume you don't pay much attention to venture capital investing. Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers is featured in the most recent issue of Fortune in a story by Adam Lashinsky because of its investments in "Greentech" and its move away from Internet companies. The story -- entitled "Kleiner bets the farm" -- is getting a lot of play on the tech blogs because of this paragraph:

Several Valley investors who monitor startups tell me they don't bother sending Web-oriented entrepreneurs to pitch Kleiner anymore; they say the firm just doesn't seem interested. As if to prove the point, not one Kleiner partner attends the 600-person [AllThingsD].

But the main thrust of the story is that KPCB is putting all of its eggs in the Greentech basket. This comes from an unidentified KPCB investor: "I hope to God they're right.... But if they're wrong it'll be the end of Kleiner Perkins."

So how risky is this move by KPCB? For a more balanced perspective on what KPCB is doing, you might want to watch KPCB partner Beth Seidenberg's presentation in the Entrepreneurial Thought Leader series at Stanford. Particularly this segment, where she explains KPCB's investment mix. About one-third of 2007 investments went to Greentech. The firm is also plowing a bunch of money into mobile technologies, which Lashinsky mentions, but the significance of this move is overwhelmed in the article by the emphasis on green. The bottom line is that KPCB isn't much interested in Web 2.0, and so far, the firm looks amazingly insightful on this point.

As for the riskiness of Greentech as a sector, does anyone really believe that this is a potential loser? Especially when KPCB has it's own in-house hype generator in Al Gore. People are ready for clean tech and KPCB is sitting pretty.

Environment, Venture Capital | Bookmark

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