Kleiner Perkins Energy Startups Soon to Shine?

Rob Hof

For years, Kleiner Perkins VC John Doerr has been talking up the firm's investments in energy and environmental startups, but he has not revealed many details. Last night, at a Churchill Club event in Palo Alto where he and other VCs offered their annual tech predictions, he hinted that we might see a lot more of them this year.

My colleague Justin Hibbard, among others, has unearthed a few tidbits, such as a fuel-cell company called Ion America and a battery startup called EEStor. Doerr mentioned last night that an unnamed energy storage company was its "highest-risk, highest-reward" investment.


Kleiner, or at least partner Vinod Khosla, also apparently invested in Methanotech, focused on methanol production. Doerr at one point also mentioned how the stalks of corn could be used to produce ethanol, thus reducing dependence on oil.

And there's also Miasole, a solar cell firm in which Kleiner invested $16 million.

Anyway, Doerr said five of Kleiner's stealth energy startups would go to market this year. He didn't say which, and there's not much to be found on Kleiner's site. Still, it may not be long before we see if all the venture excitement about "cleantech" will pan out.

In any case, it was entertaining to hear one of the supreme capitalists in the land rant about the United State's horrible energy policy--quoting Tom Friedman in saying "Green is the new red, white, and blue"--as event moderator, AlwaysOn editor in chief, and Bush supporter Tony Perkins looked like he might lose his dinner.

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