Star venture investor Mary Meeker is ditching Kleiner Perkins and taking her team with her.
Famous for her influential internet trends report and prescient bets on Uber and Spotify, Meeker is the latest high-profile woman to leave the venture capital firm that’s fallen in stature following questions around its treatment of females and a series of poor investing decisions.
Meeker’s team — Mood Rowghani, Noah Knauf and Juliet De Baubigny — will raise a fresh fund of their own devoid of the Kleiner brand. Their still-unnamed firm will launch in 2019.
Meeker declined to comment on the fund size and investor mix, but said the new firm would make bets on late-stage companies, similar to the ones she’s been making on behalf of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers since 2010.
“We aren’t changing what we do,” she said, but added that the new fund would be more focused on global opportunities. She will continue to publish her annual report on internet trends independently.
Kleiner Perkins General Partner Ted Schlein described the split as logical given the new dynamics of venture investing, which require funding startups for a longer period of time with larger sums. He said running dual strategies at the firm of venture and late-stage didn’t make sense because it “ends up sub-optimizing what each of us do.”
He said the firm will refocus on venture investing.
With the departure of the growth team and Beth Seidenberg, who launched a life-sciences venture firm earlier this month, the number of top decision makers at Kleiner shrinks from nine to five. None of them are women. Lynne Chou-O’Keefe, now a partner, is the sole female investor.
Kleiner was once the gold standard among Silicon Valley venture firms, famous for placing bets on titans including Apple and Google. A series of investment decisions, like betting on clean tech instead of social media startups, has hurt returns while a high-profile gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by Ellen Pao harmed its reputation.
Source:: The Mercury News – Business