Kleiner Perkins Reduces its Ranks

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers confirmed in a rare press release that four of its general partners will take on reduced roles in its next fund and that a fifth has left the firm. The firm also confirmed that it has held a first close on its 11th fund, which is targeted to be $400 million. KP?s announcement came hours after Private Equity Week published a story about fund XI partnership changes that are detailed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.Kevin Compton, Will Hearst, Vinod Khosla and Doug Mackenzie will continue to be partners with the firm but will not be general partners in fund XI. They will ?work exclusively with the new KPCB fund on technology investing, while also planning to spend more time with family and on personal causes,? according to the release. The release also states that Tom Jermoluk, as had previously been reported, ?elected to leave the firm to return to an operating role. Tom continues to serve on several KPCB portfolio company boards, and the firm looks forward to calling on his expertise and insights.?The significance of the change in titles is that Khosla and the others who aren?t listed as GPs in fund XI ?have not committed to be active in the management of Kleiner Perkins XI, i.e. making new investments on behalf of the fund,? says a veteran Silicon Valley venture capitalist. That doesn?t necessarily mean that Khosla and the others won?t make any new deals, but they won?t be required to.As significant as the change sounds, it actually isn?t a big deal because the firm in question is KP, the VC says. ?They?re losing some outstanding guys, but the franchise will endure and continue to succeed,? he says. ?Kleiner Perkins was great before Vinod Khosla got there and it will be great afterward. Tom Perkins greatest legacy is the institution that he helped create.?In an apparent move to show that Khosla, 49, one of its most successful partners, is still very much engaged, KP stated in its release that, ?The fund?s first investment will be in a new electronics venture where Partner Vinod Khosla will join its board of directors.? It did not disclose the name of the startup or the amount invested.It is unclear how management fees and carry on the fund will be divvyed up between those who remain GPs and those who will not be responsible for actively making new investments. It depends on the culture of the firm and individual circumstances, industry sources say.The new fund has six general partners ? Brook Byers, John Doerr, Joe Lacob, Ray Lane, Ted Schlein and Russ Siegelman, as previously reported by PE Week. In addition, the fund will have six partners: Compton, Hearst, Khosla and Mackenzie, as well as John Denniston and Juliet Flint.Matt Murphy is a ?principal? in the fund, and Aileen Lee, Ajit Nazre, Risa Stack and Trae Vassallo are ?associate partners.?KP filed what?s known as a ?Form D? with the SEC that shows that fund XI has a target of $500 million and that LPs had committed $182 million as of Feb. 12. KP?s press release states that the target of the new fund is actually $400 million and that it has held a first close on an undisclosed amount. The release did not say when the firm expects to hold a final close. The Form D for Fund XI lists two limited partners: Harvard Management Private Equity Corp. and Yale University. The document identifies them as ?beneficial owners,? meaning they have committed at least 10% of the limited partnership interests, or at least $18.2 million apiece. A total of 25 investors made commitments to the fund, but the names of the other 23 are not listed because they made commitments of less than 10% of the total. Two names were noticeably absent from the beneficial owners list: Horsley Bridge, a fund of funds, and the University of California. They were listed with Harvard and Yale as beneficial owners in a Form D filing for Fund X. A filing for that fund dated June 29, 2000, showed that KP was raising a $1.4 billion fund and that Harvard, Yale, Horsley Bridge and UC had each put up at least 10% of the $199 million raised as of that date. It’s possible that KP won’t allow UC into the new fund, even though UC has been one of its LPs since KP II. The firm could follow the lead of Sequoia Capital and Charles River Ventures, which kicked out or didn’t invite public LPs into their new funds because some public LPs, including UC, have made private equity performance numbers available to the public. The firm?s press release did not rule out that it may have a different LP lineup in the new fund. ?The institutional limited partner investors in KPCB have remained largely unchanged over the past two decades,? it states. ?The partners expect to invest the fund over roughly a three-year period in emerging growth companies in information technology, life sciences and other fast-growing industries.? ?KPCB XI partners are committed to delivering to the best entrepreneurs exceptional support and services as they build durable enterprises, and even new industries,? Lane states in the release. ?We’re delighted our long-standing limited partners continue to support innovation from leading entrepreneurs.?Two sources close to KP say that Compton, 44, has been mulling retirement for some time. One source says that Compton, who has been a general partner with KP since 1990, has entertained thoughts of ?teaching 7th grade algebra.? Compton sits on the boards of Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), KnowNow, Kodiak Networks, Intersperse, Verisign (Nasdaq: VRSN) and Volterra. Hearst, 53, joined KP in January 1995, after serving as editor and publisher of the San Francisco Examiner for 11 years. His board seats include Applied Minds, Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR), Oblix, OnFiber and RGB Media. Doug Mackenzie, 44, joined KP in 1989 and became a general partner in 1992. He is a director at E.piphany (Nasdaq: EPNY), Instant802 Networks, Marimba (Nasdaq: MRBA), Omniva Policy Systems, Scintera Networks and the WeddingChannel.