Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is trying to duplicate the success of its iFund, with a new $250 million fund dedicated to investing in social-related startups. The venture capital firm is being joined in the effort by Amazon.com (NSDQ: AMZN), Facebook, Zynga, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA), and Allen & Co., all of whom are investing in the fund and acting as “strategic partners.” It’s being led by Kleiner Perkins partner Bing Gordon (pictured).
During an event at Facebook headquarters, Gordon described the social web as “just beginning,” saying that the average friend count, number of daily posts, and time spent on Facebook, are all set to grow enormously over the next few years.
Asked how the fund would define “social,” Gordon said, “you either build social ground up or you slap it on” and added that entrepreneurs who only add it on will have much shorter meetings with his team. So far, the fund, dubbed the “sFund,” has made one investment, putting $5 million in stealth startup CafeBots, which describes itself as being involved in “friend relationship management.”
Kleiner Perkins’ iFund, which doubled in size to $200 million in March, has been a big success. Just last week, DeNA paid up to $400 million to buy Ngmoco, a startup that the iFund had backed. The return on the iFund’s investment was so large that Gordon told the WSJ that “investors can now ride the rest of the iFund for free.”
But, as a reporter pointed out today, while the iFund debuted prior to the big rush of iPhone-related apps, the sFund is launching as a huge number of social-related companies have already raised funding. Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr said in response to the comment that the sFund was only starting now because, “with the arrival of Zynga, we discovered (that the social) application opportunity was going to be enormous.”