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Kleiner Perkins Sets Up Venture iFund For iPhone Platform.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 20, 2008

I recently posted a piece on how four game-changing innovation spaces can spark economic growth and pull us out of the deepening recession. The one suggestion that sparked the most controversy was my choice of the iPhone platform.

I said: “The iPhone is developing into the key mobile computing/communicating/connecting platform of the early 21st century and thousands upon thousands of developers are designing new applications for it. The next iterations of the iPhone, with deeper broadband, and, hopefully, a better keyboard, will enable it to fulfill many of the dreams of mobility. Innovation in the iPhone platform could be a key driver.”

Naw…said a lot of folks.

Well, Patrick Whitney, who runs the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago, told me that the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins has launched a $100 million to fund applications for the iPhone

platform. The huge iFund comes as Apple gets ready in June to open its iPhone software store--as well as make it ready for big-time corporations to use. The Kleiner Perkins investments could trigger a boom in startups designing apps just for the iPhone--and iPod Touch.

Here's what John Doerr, partner of Kleiner Perkins said of the $100 million iFund: "A revolutionary new platform is a rare and prized opportunity for entrepreneurs, and that's exactly what Apple has created with iPhone and iPod touch." We think several significant new companies will emerge as this new platform evolves, and the iFund™ will empower them to realize their full potential."

David Armano of Critical Mass recently showed me an iPhone apps that just blew me away. It looked so good on the screen.

According to my West Coast colleague Peter Burrows, business plans are flooding into Kleiner Perkins.

Reader Comments

Bob Schulz

March 22, 2008 12:13 AM

I still say, Naw.
Apple did demostrate there is a desire for "unlocked" mobile phone technology. But google's open phone initiative, or the importation of current mobile phone business phone practices from Korea or Europe are more deserving of the term platform than Apple's (admittedly way cool) single consumer product.


March 22, 2008 8:06 PM

I agree with the statement that: "the iPhone is developing into the key mobile computing/communicating/connecting platform of the early 21st century and thousands upon thousands of developers are designing new applications for it."

Before the iPhone, cellphones had push buttons and a regular screen. The only aspect that made some cellphones more exclusive than others was their: stylish shape, color, and their size.
How small could a cell phone possibly get before you can't even hold it?

However, once the iPhone was introduced the world of cellphones was traveling in the fast lane and there was no room for looking back.

The iPhone introduced the phenomenon of the touch screen, familiariziug consumers to this new technology.

While other company's will probably take this idea of the touch screen and perfect it, credit must be given to the iPhone for it's demanding ideas and innovativeness.

Other comapnies will only follow in the iPhones footsteps, developing an easier to manage and more user friendly phone. However, they will be forever copying and borrowing ideas and designs.

Sebastian Lewis

March 26, 2008 6:26 AM

Bob Schulz, I strongly disagree with that. For one thing, there are still 0 devices on the market that are part of the OHA, as of January, Apple has sold 4 million and I imagine the number will be over 6 or 7 million when they announce this quarters sales. In addition to that, there is more potential in a 1 or 2 devices that have a well designed UI than potentially hundreds of other devices with varying UIs that revolve around a keyboard, or T9, or a not very well designed touch screen (single input touch screens), in other words it's basically more of the same that we've had with Java ME.

What needs to happen is that there needs to be a cutback in the number of devices on the market, it'll probably be cut back to Apple, Nokia, and RIM as the strong contenders with everyone else eating what's left, and even then just by having more devices, it doesn't necessarily mean there will be more apps, or many apps sold. The same can be said for the iPhone, but at the same time it's already breaking all the records for mobile web surfing, something other devices COULD do, but did so poorly and with such confusing data plans that consumers just didn't bother. Not only that, but Apple is pushing an app store onto every single iPhone that updates to (or is sold with) version 2.0 of OS X that simplifies the work a buyer has to do to buy and install new applications.


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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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