This $550 million brought to you by the letters ‘i’ and ‘s’
So the good folks at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have really been on a roll over the last few years, throwing down some serious cash on technology bets which, it seems, have come up big. Two years ago, they kicked off the $100 million iFund, focused solely on businesses developing products for the iPhone, iPod and iPad. This March, they doubled that amount. Now today, Kleiner Perkins got together with Amazon, Facebook and Zynga to announce the new sFund, $250 million focused on social applications.
It’s interesting to note that Google and Yahoo! were not present for this gathering, whatsoever. According to KPCB partner John Doerr, Facebook is the social platform to focus on. “Facebook is it,” he said.
This isn’t saying that Kleiner Perkins is a kingmaker or anything, I’m not saying we’ll be seeing Facebook eclipse Google anytime soon. But it’s been pretty clear over the latter portion of the decade that KPCB seems to know how to pick winners. Other companies that WERE present and are partners in the fund included Comcast, Liberty Media and Allen & Company, LLC.
The fund has already invested in one company, Cafébots, who announced a $5 million round this morning – it’s not precisely clear what they do, but they claim to be working on a product involved in “Friend Relationship Management.” That sounds pretty social. They expect to have a product ready by the end of the year.
The thing about “social” is that is kind of a nebulous term. Obviously, it means involving other people, but just about anything can involve other people.
Could it be that this is just another tech bubble, like the dot-com bubble of years past? Kleiner Perks put down $250 million saying it isn’t. What do you think? Are you out to grab a piece of that for yourself?