Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers is a Silicon Valley venture capital (VC) firm. For over five decades, Kleiner Perkins (previously known as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) has invested in technology and life science companies.
The firm was formed in 1972 as Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers (KPCB).
The firm has backed companies such as Sun Microsystems, Compaq Computer Corp., Lotus, Netscape Communications Corp., America Online Inc., and Amazon with a combined market cap of about $650 billion. KP's partners assemble management teams and often sit on boards of the companies they sponsor. An informal version of the Japanese "keiretsu" system encourages resource sharing and deal making among KP-backed companies.
The firm was formed in 1972 as Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers (KPCB) in Menlo Park, California, with a focus on seed, early-stage, and growth companies. The firm is named after its four founding partners: Eugene Kleiner, Tom Perkins, Frank J. Caufield, and Brook Byers. Kleiner was a founder of Fairchild Semiconductor, and Perkins was an early Hewlett-Packard executive. Byers joined in 1977.
Located in Menlo Park, California, Kleiner Perkins had access to the growing technology industries in the area. By the early 1970s, there were many semiconductor companies based in the Santa Clara Valley as well as early computer firms using their devices and programming and service companies. Venture capital firms suffered a temporary downturn in 1974, when the stock market crashed and investors were naturally wary of this new kind of investment fund. Nevertheless, the firm was still active in this period. By 1996, Kleiner Perkins had funded around 260 companies a total of $880 million. Beyond the original founders, notable members of the firm have included individuals such as John Doerr, Vinod Khosla, and Bill Joy.
Colin Powell joined as a "strategic" partner in 2005, while Al Gore joined as partner in 2007 as part of a collaboration between Kleiner Perkins and Generation Investment Management. Mary Meeker joined the firm in 2010, and that year Kleiner Perkins expanded its practice to invest in growth stage companies. Meeker departed in 2019 to found Bond Capital. Mamoon Hamid from Social Capital and Ilya Fushman from Index Partners joined in 2017 and 2018 respectively, both as investing partners.
The New York Times has described Kleiner Perkins as "perhaps Silicon Valley's most famous venture firm". The firm was described by Dealbook in 2009 as "one of Silicon Valley's top venture capital providers", and The Wall Street Journal in 2010 called it one of the "largest and most established" venture capital firms. By 2019 it had raised around $9 billion in 19 venture capital funds and four growth funds.
In May 2012, Ellen Pao, an employee, sued the firm for gender discrimination in Pao v. Kleiner Perkins, which the firm has vigorously denied On 27 March 2015, after a month-long trial, the jury found against Pao on all claims. In June 2015, Pao filed an appeal. In September 2015, Pao announced she would no longer appeal the jury verdict.
In September 2018, Kleiner Perkins announced it was spinning out its digital growth team into a new independent firm. The firm announced its 19th fund on 31 January 2019 after raising $600 million. The fund is focused on early stage investments in the "consumer, enterprise, hard tech and fintech" sectors. The firm raised US$600 million for its 18th fund, KP XVIII, in January 2019
In March 2008 Kleiner Perkins announced the iFund, a $100 million venture capital investment initiative that funds concepts related to the iPhone, and doubled that investment a year later. It was reported in April 2008 that Kleiner Perkins was raising funds for a $500 million growth-stage clean-technology fund. In October 2010, the firm launched a $250 million fund called sFund to focus on social startups, with co-investors such as Facebook, Zynga and Amazon.com. In early 2016, the firm raised $1.4 billion in KP XVII and DGF III.
The firm has been an early investor in more than 900 technology and life sciences firms since its founding, including Amazon.com, America Online, Beyond Meat, Citrix, Compaq, Electronic Arts. Genentech, Google, Intuit, Lotus Development, Netscape, Shyp, Nest, Sun Microsystems, and Twitter. Some current investments include DJI, Handshake, Coursera, Shape Security, Farmers Business Network, Interos, IronNet Cybersecurity, Desktop Metal, Gusto, Plaid, Rippling, Robinhood, Slack, UiPath, Netlify, Loom, Viz.ai, and Looker. Very recent investments include Modern Health, Pillar, Future and STORD.
Kleiner Perkins paid $5 million in 1994 for around 25% of Netscape and profited from Netscape's IPO. Its investment of $8 million in Cerent was worth around $2 billion when the optical equipment maker was sold to Cisco Systems for $6.9 billion in August 1999. In 1999, Kleiner Perkins paid $12 million for a stake in Google. As of 2019, the market cap of Google's parent company was estimated at around $831 billion. As initial investors in Amazon.com Kleiner Perkins scored return in excess of $1 billion on an $8 million investment
KPCB China's investment advisory team was founded in 2007 with the goal of building a dialog between entrepreneurs and investors in China. Kleiner Perkins focus their global investments in China due to China's rapidly growing economy and startup culture. The advisory team operates independently and focuses on Digital, Green Tech and Life science opportunities. The investment advisory team is focused on identifying and promoting innovation and supporting entrepreneurs and portfolio companies.
The firm currently has five partners managing investments:
- John Doerr (chairman)
- Brook Byers (founder)
- Ilya Fushman
- Mamoon Hamid
- Wen Hsieh
- Bucky Moore
- Ted Schlein
Kleiner Perkins announces their 18th venture fund: $600 million to focus on early stage investing
Associated Investment Funds
Funding Rounds Participated In
Venture Capital Firm attributes
- Venture capitalVenture capital is a form of private equity financing that is provided by venture capital firms or funds to startups, early-stage, and emerging companies, that have been deemed to have high growth potential or which have demonstrated high growth. Capital invested usually carries a substantial element of risk.