Friday, May 02, 2008

KP bets big on green tech firms

"Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers said Thursday it will invest $500 million in green technology companies that have passed their earliest stages of growth and are maturing.

The venture capital firm also will invest in green-tech startup companies as part of another investment fund it introduced Thursday, which will invest $700 million over the next three years in startups.

The $500 million later-stage fund, called Green Growth, is a departure for Kleiner Perkins, which has traditionally invested in early-stage companies.

But John Denniston, the Kleiner Perkins partner who is co-managing the fund, said the firm now gets more than one business plan a day involving green technologies, and he expects that number to increase as oil prices rise and demand increases for products that can help slow global warming.

'We're seeing a great opportunity to build large, high-impact global companies,' Denniston said.

The Green Growth fund may be a hedge for Kleiner Perkins against hard times in the venture capital industry.

Traditional routes for startup companies - going public or getting acquired - face more obstacles today because of the U.S. economic slowdown, and the fund will provide an alternative source of capital for companies that can't do either right away."

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