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Reports emerged last month that Vinod Khosla, the high-profile green venture capitalist and Sun Microsystems co-founder, was finally turning to outside investors to create two new funds that together would raise $1 billion to primarily back cleantech startups. Hard evidence has now surfaced about one of […]

vinodkhoslapicReports emerged last month that Vinod Khosla, the high-profile green venture capitalist and Sun Microsystems co-founder, was finally turning to outside investors to create two new funds that together would raise $1 billion to primarily back cleantech startups. Hard evidence has now surfaced about one of those funds in a June document (hat tip to peHUB) from CalPERS. The California pension fund has committed to invest $60 million into what it describes as a fund that will focus on early-stage clean technology opportunities. The new fund, which according to the doc is now closed at $250 million, will also put some 25 percent toward information technology-focused startups.

CalPERS describes the investment with Menlo Park, Calif.-based Khosla Ventures as a potentially “breakthrough” opportunity to align itself at a meaningful scale with “one of the most successful venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.” Over the last five years, it notes, Khosla Ventures has developed market-leading knowledge in clean technology and its current portfolio is “well diversified across a number of sub-sectors.” CalPERS also says the investment could lead to a long-term relationship with the firm.

But while Khosla has earned a reputation for putting his money where his mouth is -– he’s invested hundreds of millions of dollars of his own cash into startups -– CalPERS’ assessment of the firm as having a diversified cleantech portfolio is another story. Khosla has disproportionately bet on biofuels, with more than a dozen startups including Mascoma, Range Fuels and Coskata in his portfolio, many of them now in the capital-intensive project development stage. Still, to be fair, Khosla has made investments in lighting (Lumenz), engineered geothermal (AltaRock), solar (Ausra) batteries (Sakti3 and Seeo) and other sub-sectors, but the heavy focus on biofuels still stands large. The good news for venture capital watchers is that with CalPERS’ investment, Khosla Ventures’ performance will be more transparent as a result of the pension fund’s filing requirements.

  1. [...] One Down: Vinod Khosla Closes $250M Seed-Stage Fund Khosla’s $250M Seed-stage Fund Closed, CalPERS Invests $60M Posted in Clean Technology VC Funds, Media Research. Tags: CalPERS, Khosla Ventures, Khosla [...]

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  2. [...] there’s been an increase in company funding announcements over the past few weeks, including Vinod Khosla’s new $250 million greentech fund, with $60 million from CalPERS, the California pension fund, green plastics firm Novomer’s [...]

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  3. [...] are, the press release includes a quote from Joncarlo Mark, senior portfolio manager at CalPERS. According to documents back in June (hat tip peHUB) the California pension fund has committed to invest $60 million into what it a $250 million [...]

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  4. [...] the press release back in September quoted Joncarlo Mark, senior portfolio manager at CalPERS. And according to documents from back in June (hat tip peHUB) the California pension fund has committed to invest $60 million into the [...]

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