Kleiner Perkins Energy Startups Soon to Shine?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 13, 2006

For years, Kleiner Perkins VC John Doerr has been talking up the firm’s investments in energy and environmental startups, but he has not revealed many details. Last night, at a Churchill Club event in Palo Alto where he and other VCs offered their annual tech predictions, he hinted that we might see a lot more of them this year.

My colleague Justin Hibbard, among others, has unearthed a few tidbits, such as a fuel-cell company called Ion America and a battery startup called EEStor. Doerr mentioned last night that an unnamed energy storage company was its “highest-risk, highest-reward” investment.
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Kleiner, or at least partner Vinod Khosla, also apparently invested in Methanotech, focused on methanol production. Doerr at one point also mentioned how the stalks of corn could be used to produce ethanol, thus reducing dependence on oil.

And there’s also Miasole, a solar cell firm in which Kleiner invested $16 million.

Anyway, Doerr said five of Kleiner’s stealth energy startups would go to market this year. He didn’t say which, and there’s not much to be found on Kleiner’s site. Still, it may not be long before we see if all the venture excitement about “cleantech” will pan out.

In any case, it was entertaining to hear one of the supreme capitalists in the land rant about the United State’s horrible energy policy—quoting Tom Friedman in saying “Green is the new red, white, and blue”—as event moderator, AlwaysOn editor in chief, and Bush supporter Tony Perkins looked like he might lose his dinner.

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Reader Comments

Julius Bannerman

November 12, 2007 04:58 PM

I think you made a wise move to bring Former Vice President Al Gore aboard. I know he will be a great asset to your on going ventures. I am very interesting in taking some of our minorities living in the south eastern section of North Carolina, teaching them how to build solar paneling. I am a 64 year old retired black male executive with some energy still left. I believe in the next four to five years, there will be a thirst for new energy products, and we won't have the manpower installation capability. If i can take the best and brightest young people who are not in college, or didn't finish high school, teach them this trade, this could be a successful career for these young people. However, I would need your help in putting together a plan to kick it off. The kids are ready. Please let me hear from you soon.

Nick Hawkins

January 30, 2008 12:38 PM

Young, not in college, eager... where do i sign up?

Ben Schrepf

December 5, 2008 07:49 PM

Curious as to what ever happened to Bannerman's idea?....

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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