Tuesday, November 13, 2007

KPCB will invest in greentech companies -- is POMEGA a candidate?

The world's leading venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), which has invested in Info Edge’s Naukri.com and online travel portal Cleartrip.com, is turning its attention to cleantech or greentech firms (companies in the clean technology sector) by making four to five investments in the sector in the next six months.

The US-headquartered Kleiner Perkins, which tied up with Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management (the latter manages $1.5 billion and invests in public companies in sustainable energy businesses) on Monday, is looking at several early and late stage Indian cleantech companies for possible investment opportunities, said Ajit Nazare, partner and Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins, in a conference call with journalists in India.

Kleiner Perkins, one of the oldest and most successful venture capital firms, makes mostly early stage venture capital investments from its 12th fund of $700 million. About $200 million is earmarked for greentech investments.

Greentech sector ranges across eight sub-segments including renewable energy technologies, building efficiency, cleaner fossil energy, sustainable agriculture and carbon markets.

“There are numerous opportunities in India. We are looking at several of them (greentech companies for possible investments). A large number of these are later-stage companies,” Nazare said. “You can expect five investments in greentech in next three to six months.”

KPCB invests anything from $3-5 million in one deal, but capital will never be a constraint, said the partners.

Lane said that India, China and the US are very important growing economies that Kleiner Perkins wants to associate with more actively to “conceive important firms, attract the best entrepreneurship and best ideas”.

Till now, Kleiner Perkins’ focus in India has been “consumer-facing enterprises” such as MapMyIndia, a web application that offers maps in India, Paymate, a mobile payment platform, in addition to Info Edge and Cleartrip.

Globally, Kleiner Perkins partners have supported hundreds of entrepreneurs in building over 475 companies, including household names such as Amazon, Sun, Genentech, Intuit, Verisign and Google.

In India, Kleiner Perkins hopes to continue its association with Ram Shriram’s Sherpalo Ventures in cleantech firms as well, said Nazare.

“We have a long relationship with Ram Shriram. It is likely that Sherpalo may co-invest with us in cleantech firms as well. It is likely, but not necessary,” he said.

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