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05/21/2012 01:33 PM     print story email story  

KPCB Closes $535 Million Venture Capital Fund News

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) closed its 15th fund, KPCB 15, a $525 million venture capital fund focused on cleantech, digital, and life sciences companies.

The new fund will focus more on the digital than the cleantech side, but KPCB continues to actively invest from its existing funds, including the $1 billion Green Growth Fund, to help speed mass market solutions to the climate crisis.

Some of the cleantech companies it's funded are: Harvest Power, which builds and operates anaerobic digestion plants; smart grid company Silver Spring Networks, with a planned IPO; thin-film solar manufacturer MiaSole; electric bus-maker Proterra Transphorm, which reduces energy waste in electrical systems; Agilyx, which converts difficult-to-recycle waste plastic into synthetic crude oil; and Amprius, which is developing silicon-based electrode technology for lithium ion batteries.   

Best known for backing companies such as Google and Amazon, KPCB has been a vocal supporter of cleantech. One of its principles, John Doerr, advises President Obama, and has strongly advocated for government backing and research.

In 2010, he joined other business leaders in developing a plan - and urging the White House - to make the U.S. a global leader in energy technology innovation. Some of their recommendations have been implemented, such as creating  centers of excellence in energy innovation (DOE's Energy Hubs) and funding ARPA-E.

In a NY Times OpEd with GE CEO Jeff Immelt, they said the US is falling behind in the race to dominate the cleantech industry ... there is "no topic of greater importance to America's economic future."

"The thing that scares me the most about America at the moment is the anti-science movement is gaining ground. If we don't have presidents or an informed electorate that can make decisions based on science, we're gonna be in a bad situation," says John Doerr.

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