Komisar Adds To KP’s New Look

It’s not exactly reconstructive surgery, but Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is getting a new look.

The newest face at Silicon Valley’s premier venture firm is Randy Komisar, who joined as a partner on April 4. Komisar, 50, is billed as a “virtual CEO,” who has helped launch a host of tech startups, including Palm, Tivo and WebTV.

He is expected to continue in that role at KP and has, in fact, “been working very closely with us on a stealth consumer-facing company” for the past year, says John Denniston, a KP partner and the firm’s COO.

The addition of Komisar comes less than four months after KP added another Silicon Valley celebrity to its partnership-Bill Joy. Joy is a renowned computer scientist who co-founded Sun Microsystems and was one of the architects of the Java programming language.

Joy and Komisar are “partners in the KP XI fund,” Denniston says, but he declined to say if they will take part in the firm’s management fees and carry just like the six “managing partners” for fund XI-Brook Byers, John Doerr, Joe Lacob, Ray Lane, Ted Schlein and Russ Siegelman.

It’s unclear whether the firm will add any more partners to the fund XI roster. “We’re always looking at our network, but we don’t have any other announcements planned,” Denniston says.

When KP raised its 11th fund in the spring of 2004, it disclosed that four longtime partners would take a reduced role, working with the new fund “while also planning to spend more time with family and on personal causes.” Those partners are Kevin Compton, Will Hearst, Vinod Khosla and Doug Mackenzie. In addition, Partner Tom Jermoluk left the firm last year.

Negotiations to bring Komisar aboard happened over a period of months. Several KP partners have known him as long as 15 years. Discussions about his joining the firm grew out of the work he’s been doing with the stealth consumer company, Denniston says.

He notes that KP’s newest partner “has a warm, engaging personality and he’s a lot of fun to work with.”

Komisar is expected to “hit the ground running,” just like Joy, who Denniston says has been “very active” in looking at deals since he came aboard in January.