Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is among the most venerated venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road, celebrated for early bets on Amazon, Google and EA among others. But is KPCB now on the ropes? Sarah Lacy and Michael Carney of Pando Daily stirred the pot last week, writing that noted venture partner John Doerr has taken it upon himself to resurrect the firm that once ruled Silicon Valley. From Lacy’s post:
“Kleiner put some wins on the board in 2013, but none were of the headline-grabbing, firm-making variety. To be clear: Kleiner is doing fine, particularly compared to most venture firms. It’s just not doing Kleiner-good.”
Given the recent buzz over the state of the union at KPCB, we wanted to analyze some high-level trends and data around Kleiner’s recent tech investments, including a breakdown of when the firm tends to first invest and its current Tech IPO Pipeline portfolio.
The chart below shows the breakdown of investments by stage made by Kleiner since 2010 by the stage at which they were first made. Of note, while other top venture investors decidedly make the majority of their first investments at the early stage such as Charles River Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz who have made over 80% of first investments at the Seed or Series A stage, half of Kleiner’s first investments over the past three years came at the mid-stage or beyond.
But irrespective of entry point, Kleiner Perkins currently has a bigger pipeline of potential 2014 Tech IPO Pipeline companies than that of any other venture capital or corporate venture capital investor. Of the 590 private U.S. tech companies with a real or rumored valuation over $100M and who are demonstrating significant momentum based on our private company Mosaic ratings, Kleiner Perkins has 50 of them.
While Kleiner has been known historically for its ability to see around the corner for the next big thing, the firm most often first invested in its Tech IPO Pipeline companies during the mid to late stage. Kleiner’s mid/late stage IPO Pipeline investments include DocuSign (Series D), Mandiant (Series C), Inrix (Series D), AppDynamics (Series C) and Practice Fusion (Series D). Although three of Kleiner’s Pipeline candidates are in the billion dollar valuation club including Square, Jawbone and Lending Club, none were early-stage investments.
Interestingly, one of the largest segments of Kleiner’s Tech IPO Pipeline portfolio companies is in the security sector, and specifically the security-related investments of Kleiner investor Ted Schlein. As a Board Member, Schlein has a number of very promising companies he is working with which is an interesting and telling sign that we continue to track and monitor board member effectiveness as part of our LP-focused Investor Mosaic models.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that despite all the noise around Kleiner’s recent performance, the venture firm has notched quite a few wins already in 2013 including the highest number of venture-backed IPOs of any venture firm. In fact, the top 10 KPCB portfolio firms that either went public or were acquired in 2013 saw an aggregate disclosed exit valuation of over $19B. The chart below shows Kleiner’s top 2013 exits by valuation at the time of exit and when Kleiner first invested in the given companies (highlighting though that like its IPO Pipeline companies, Kleiner’s biggest wins came from mid to late-stage investments.)
While it is fair to highlight that Kleiner hasn’t been making the prescient early bets that made it famous, the reality is that almost any other venture firm (aside from our Investor Mosaic AAA and AA firms) would love to have Kleiner’s portfolio. It appears based on much of the data that Kleiner is still doing very well but as Sarah Lacy pointed out in her post, they’re just not doing “Kleiner-good”.