Gore joins Kleiner in search of green deals

Al Gore and John Doerr are together again.

Gore—the former vice president, Academy Award winner and Nobel Peace Prize laureate—has joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner to help the Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm invest in what the firm calls “green technology” deals.

The move is part of an alliance between Kleiner Perkins and Generation Investment Management, the London-based $1 billion investment company that Gore launched three years ago with David Blood to invest in publicly traded sustainable companies. Kleiner Perkins Partner Doerr has, in turn, joined the advisory board of GIM and Kleiner Perkins will co-locate its European operations to the same London offices as GIM.

Doerr has been a longtime supporter of the Democratic party, and was a backer of Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000. Doerr has credited his environmental awareness to Gore, who won an Academy Award for the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” The former VP and the VC have spent so much time together since the 1990s that the slogan “Gore and Doerr 2004” became a popular spoof in Silicon Valley after the 2000 election, though Doerr has never run for political office.

In an exclusive story about Gore’s move published last week in Fortune magazine, Doerr said that by 2009 more than a third of KP’s latest fund, which was raised in 2006 and totals $600 million, will be invested in technologies that aim to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Already, the firm has invested more than $270 million from various funds in 26 companies that make everything from microbes that scrub old oil wells to electric cars to non-corn ethanol. And 12 of Kleiner’s 22 partners now spend some or all of their time on green investments, the article said.

In a press release announcing his addition to Kleiner Perkins, Gore said that he would donate 100% of his “salary” as a partner at KP to the Alliance for Climate Protection, the non-partisan foundation he chairs and which focuses on accelerating policy solutions to the climate crisis. It is not known if by salary, Gore was referring to firm management fees or if he intends to donate his carried interest from profitable investments. A Kleiner Perkins spokeswoman declined to comment on how partners are compensated.

The Associated Press reported that Gore’s donation to the Alliance does not include stock options he expects to own after the companies the firm invests in are sold to the public. “It’s one of the benefits of not being in the public sector anymore,” Gore said, with a laugh, to the AP.

KP is no stranger to adding politicos to its roster. Gore is the firm’s latest big name addition after it added former Secretary of State Colin Powell two years ago, and it has an arrangement with former eBay executive and California politician Steve Westly. But Gore is expected to be a more acvtive investor than Powell, who is listed as a “strategic limited partner” on the firm’s website, but does not serve on any board of Kleiner Perkins’ portfolio companies. Gore also sits on the board of Apple Inc., serves as a senior adviser to Google and is co-founder and president of the San Francisco-based cable television network Current TV.