Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the legendary venture capital firm that made big money during the PC era and early days of the Internet, is looking to hire a partner who will focus on Digital Media investments, according to several Silicon Valley sources.
We spoke to iFund manager and Kleiner Perkins partner Matt Murphy about the iFund’s close relationship with Apple, its approach to competing mobile platforms including the mobile web, what iPad apps he’s most excited to invest in and what has already been done to death.
Kleiner Perkins said today that it will double the size of its iFund — capital dedicated specifically to companies developing for the iPhone and iPod touch — as it’s already spent its allocated $100 million in the two years since the fund was first formed.
In the hopes of another platform gold rush, there’s already an “AppFund” for applications for the iPad and other tablets. The AppFund doesn’t have quite the resume of the KPCB-backed and Apple-supported iFund, but it comes at a time when tablets are top of mind.
I am hanging out at the MobileBeat conference in Sunnyvale, Calif., today, watching Erick Schonfeld grill panelists on the “Bang or Bust” panel. One of the panelists is Matt Murphy, head of the $100 million iFund at Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers. “We have invested in five companies so far,” he told the room.
He named iControl, which brings home automation to the iPhone, as one of the fund’s investments, and said the names of three more would be revealed sometime between September and November. Given that the iFund was only announced back in March, I am surprised by the number of startups they’re investing in already. I have heard that VCs are currently sifting through business plans for iPhone-related startups. Tapulous is one of the hot iPhone startups out there and has already raised venture capital from well-known angels in Silicon Valley.
More information later after I wrap up my panel, which kicks off in a few minutes.
Folks, I am traveling today to the D Conference down in Carlsbad, Calif., and won’t have much time to blog. Nevertheless, these are some of the stories that are worth your time today.
- Vodafone is changing CEOs. Arun Sarin, after handling the company for five tough years, is leaving Vodafone. The company has turned profitable again and has expanded quickly into fast growing wireless markets including India and Eastern Europe. Now, Vittorio Colao is going to take over. Sarin should move to Bharti Telecom and help that company become a global telecom.
- Deutsche Telekom has admitted it tracked phone calls to find out who was leaking company information to the media. Sort of like HP, except more sophisticated. What a bunch of morons and betrayers of their customers’ faith in the company.
- Pealgo, a location-based social look-up service has raised about $15 million from Kleiner Perkins’ iFund, T-Mobile’s venture arm and Reliance Communications, reports Business Week.
- Apple has gone green and filed a patent that could someday give iPods and iPhones the ability charge themselves using solar energy, reports Earth2Tech.
- The Canadian auction for 2Ghz spectrum for Advanced Wireless Services has run into problems. Today a consortium of U.S. equity houses, M/C Venture Partners and Columbia Capital dropped out, joining Primus Canada. Manitoba Telecom scaled back its plans. Rogers Telecom and cable company Shaw Communications are still in the running and looking to spend.
[qi:111] So those rumors about the iPhone SDK delay were right after all: it won’t be until June 2008 till you get to put new apps on your iPhones. But that’s enough time for John Doerr & the venture firm he leads, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to set up a $100 million iFund. (Does anyone know about the performance of KPCB’s Java Fund?) Is KPCB compensating and desperately trying to get ahead of what it thinks is a hot trend? After all they failed to board the Web 2.0 train and of course missing out on Facebook. Read More about Does iPhone Need The iFund?