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Al Gore joins Menlo Park venture capital firm

Original post made on Nov 12, 2007

Al Gore, former vice president and recent Nobel Prize winner, has joined the Menlo Park venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB) as a partner, it was announced today.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 12, 2007, 3:48 PM

Comments (24)

Posted by Jarred, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:10 pm

Is it possible to short a venture capital firm?


Posted by Citizen, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Will Al Gore make the KPCB folks give up their private jets and fly commercial? Oh wait, he doesn't fly commercial, he hops on the Google jets.

Wait until the first IPO with Gore goes public, watch it pop up for a couple months and then short it.


Posted by priuscient, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2007 at 8:53 pm

Seriously, you can't expect a Nobel prize winner, former Vp and senator to go tooling around the country in a Tom Hanks Prius, or a Forrest Gump walkathon, or even, perish the thought, public transportation to spread the gospel. Secret service would have a serious case of the runs.
His new partners at KPCB would have to find a biojetfuel supplier or
just use their secret star power(a new energy source?) to stay safely above the masses.
This begs the question, why shouldn't all those V.C's and presidential aspirants settle for the President's annual salary, no options or fringes? Just a plain old working man's salary. Seems good enough for the rest of us to get by on limited means.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:27 pm

What? The last three posters don't understand venture capital very well.

Gore will be a powerful asset to KPCB in drawing innovative green (and other) technologies, as well as being able to open doors (all over the world) for KPCB companies that they haven't heretofore been able to open. Gore is a supremely well-networked guy.

Smart move!


Posted by An Observer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Maybe they will finance Nuclear Power Plants in this area! Or is committed to coal as he seems to always have been in the past when he had to power for the country to go modern, CO2 free Nuclear.


Posted by Curious category, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:39 pm

hmmmm.... and why is this thread classified under crimes and incidents?


Posted by Logical Positivist, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:58 pm

Because the event itself constitutes and incident, and crime happens all the time. Why not?


Posted by Citizen, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Mike - Like all good Palo Altans, I understand the VC business - that is why I said you should short Al Gore's companies after the IPO and when the lockups are expiring.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 12, 2007 at 11:36 pm

oh, you mean like Google, Amazon, etc.? :)

Here's a bet; if a stock backed by Gore and KPCB funds makes it to an IPO, you will lose money if you short in the near term - even when the lockups are expiring.

You fundamentally misunderstand the intangibles behind partnering with Gore, as your claim is that anything he backs will be fluff, and people will bail as lockups expire. Keep betting, and let me know whan you start winning.

btw, Colin Powell is a limited KPCB partner.

KPCB isn't at the top of the game because they hire the wrong partners. What do you know that they don't? And, when did you raise your last fund?


Posted by Terry, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2007 at 12:11 am

Colin Powell is a "strategic limited partner" which is a new one on me - but I assume means he attends an offsite or two and opens his rolodex when asked.

I usually don't agree with Mike (or he with me ;-) but in this case I agree about not shorting. I saw a study of post-IPO performance of KP companies; there was something like an average 4x increase in value three years from time of distribution, looking back all the way to Fund I. I don't think you'll make good money shorting KP companies as a portfolio.

That said, there is not a great track record of people doing well entering VC from other industries at a senior level (even tech execs have a mixed record). As Doerr has been quoted, it takes 6-8 years and $20 million in losses to train a fighter pilot or a VC (and that $20 is probably $40 million now). We'll see how Gore does.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 13, 2007 at 10:38 am

Gore will not be trained as a typical VC; he will be deployed as a technology scout and as a government insider who can leverage his enormous international and domestic network to bring advantage to KPCB's portfolio.

Think government contracts; think legislative influenence; think the security industry; think green technologies - all these are Gore's bailiwick, and more. His presence at a firm mlike KPCB will be enormous. Also, he's a *very* smart guy, who was known as the hardest working member of the Congress when he was a legislator.

Powell's standing with KPCB is in much the same vein, but with far less "punch" than Gore can bring to the team re: the areas mentioned above (and more).


Posted by sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2007 at 5:02 pm

One thing is certain:President Gore will not plunge his new VC firm into astronomical deficits that it will never be able to pay off.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Nov 13, 2007 at 5:11 pm

There are some significant plays in the 'soft energy' approach, for instance nanotech/polymer/buckyball stuff (e.g. Konarka - Alan Heeger). These plays have a reassonalbe chance of making money. But they will not make much of a difference, in terms of energy supply. The only big player, for the next couple of decades is nuclear power.


Posted by Terry, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2007 at 5:34 pm

Wow, Mike, I didn't realize you were a partner at KP ;=)


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 13, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Terry, Let's just say that I have inside access to a wide range of information, and leave it at that. :))


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Nov 13, 2007 at 6:34 pm

Mike,

You take your talking points from Amory Lovins, etal. . He is a smart guy, but hopelessly naive. You don't seem to have any real "inside" knowledge. Neither he, nor you have an answer to the HUGE demand on electrical that is just around the corner, specifically the need to charge electric cars.

The only way is nuclear power.


Posted by Jarred, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Mike, thanks for reminding me that Google and Amazon were backed by the Goracle. I had completely forgotten that he invented the internet!

Anyhow, it is pointless for us to argue over whether big Al will be a good parter at KP, because it is well known that "the debate is over". Anyone who disagrees is a Holocaust denier! You are all hereby cowed into silence.


Posted by David, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 25, 2007 at 4:01 pm

Al Gore = puppet
Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers = puppet masters


To: Al, cut your gut and really reduce your carbon imprint.

I am not sure who is fatter by BMI hillary or al?


Posted by RealityCheck, a resident of another community
on Nov 25, 2007 at 9:21 pm

Greg:
"The only big player, for the next couple of decades is nuclear power."

Let's see - you had Bush at the helm for 7 years, a Republican Congress for 6 of those years and STILL nukelear (as W would say) has gone nowhere.

Based on that alone, I'd continue to short nuke stocks if I were you.


Posted by reality check squared, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Reality Check: You might want to check out the number of nuclear applications wending their way through the system...we are go for launch!


Posted by reality check cubed, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2007 at 2:43 pm

You might also take a look at the forward resistance tat those applications are going to receive, and how not one of them will impact N. California. This is a dead technology, anywhere there are thinking people.


Posted by RealityCheck, a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Reality Check Squared:

"You might want to check out the number of nuclear applications wending their way through the system...we are go for launch!"

And when the Democrats win the Presidency next year, that "launch" will be scrubbed well before take-off.



Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Nov 26, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Nuclear is here and now. If the Democrats win the WH in 2008 (starting to look doubtful, but still possible), they will slit their own throats if they further delay nuclear. Mass unemployment and possible riots in the street are not good for the Dems, if it happens under their watch. Hillary, for one, is smart enough not to delay nukes (although she will try cover her tracks with big new research funds for solar, wind, etc.). Base load electrical energy will become one of the major national issues during the next 10 years. The Dems cannot afford to be behind the curve on this one, or they will cease to exist as a political party.

Tarditas et procrastinatio odiosa est.


Posted by Reality Check Cubed, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2007 at 10:40 pm

Greg, I'm sure the Dems are listening to your every word. (nudge, nudge)

Caveat emptor


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