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Kleiner is Made Up of One Remarkable Man, and Basically a Bunch of Primadonnas with No Track Record

Fund: Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers

Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-19

PUBLIC:

John Doerr will go down as the greatest venture capitalist that ever lived. He built Kleiner into legendary status, complete with awe and reverence. They were at one point THE apex of excellence among VCs. JD's accomplishments are nothing short of brilliance. Credit goes to Vinod Khosla, too. He was the second half of KP's success.

Kleiner is an entirely different firm today. The caliber of partner they have is simply, in a word - disappointing. Sure, they all have sterling academic credentials (don't most VCs?), but not one of them has done anything to earn the right to bear the KPCB logo on their business cards. It really is a junior varsity over there. Newer partners like Bing Gordon and Ray Lane are seasoned operating executives and they bring value to the table, however they too haven't proved themselves with a big return.

My sense is that Doerr is desperately trying to groom KP's leadership. Problem is, he doesn't appear to be any good at it. Sadly, if Doerr goes for any reason, there is literally nobody there to watch the house.

The shine has rubbed off Kleiner's image, but they still have a chance to maintain that mythical leadership position if they can pull off a whale of a deal. Will that be Bloom? ng como? Fisker? Maybe Silver Spring will come up a winner, but that deal was funded in a much later round, not early stage. I look at their portfolio and I don't see dollar signs, save a few. Maybe.

Silicon Valley today is home to many good investors. Although several will be out of business by next year, there is still an ample stable of VC talent and money. Kleiner = John Doerr. But the chances of getting Doerr involved in your deal is zero. So that means you will be dealing with the JV, and then you have to ask yourself if that's what you want to do. In green tech, they'll take big gambles. But in high tech, no such luck. If you're going to give up 40% anyway, my suggestion is to go to a firm where you'll the get senior leadership directly involved.

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