Kleiner Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm that backed Google in its early days, is planning to raise a “Green Growth” fund of more than $400 million, to invest in later-stage cleantech companies, according to PeHub.
The move is a sign of the maturation and realities of the green technology industry. Many environment-related projects, including solar thermal, electric cars and bio-fuel manufacturing, require huge amounts of capital. Kleiner had earlier raised $200 million to invest in early-stage green companies, but it doesn’t have enough money to invest large chucks of cash in more mature companies as they move to manufacturing stage.
According to the report, which we have yet to confirm, the firm may do select public investments, carveouts and spinouts.
Kleiner has won considerable stature in the clean technology investing area, since hiring former Vice President Al Gore as a partner last year. Gore, a proponent of stronger measures to clean up the environment, won the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts. Apparently, Gore is among those leading the firm’s effort to raise the new fund.
According to PE Hub:
Al Gore is among those pitching it to [Kleiner’s] limited partners. During a recent LP meeting in New York, KP’s John Doerr reminded attendees that the firm had invested in the first commercial web browser just 14 years ago, which prompted Gore to caution Doerr against claiming credit for creating the Internet.
Doerr is expected to be involved in the project, but KP is also hiring a dedicated team with more experience in late-stage finance.
“They recently hired a team from the Goldman Sachs Special Situations Group that did the initial deals behind First Solar and Horizon Wind,” says Anup Gupta, a partner with the Virgin Green Fund. “It was like a five-person team, [but] two left for Hudson Capital.”
Kleiner has also reportedly hired executive recruiter Jordan Ormont, previously at Howard Fischer Associates, as a partner.