powell.jpgThat’s right, General Powell, the former U.S. secretary of state, is joining Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firm, as a “strategic limited partner.”

Here’s a link to our full Mercury News story (or here) about tech-savvy Powell, who owns a Treo, a Motorola Razr and three different computers. But Powell, who resigned as secretary of state last November, will not relocate to Silicon Valley from his office in Virginia. Instead, Kleiner Perkins has created a new kind of position for him, to draw on Powell’s considerable global experience to help mentor entrepreneurs.

“I wanted to be on the leading edge of technology developments in American and in the world, which will not only benefit America, but all of human kind,” Powell said in an interview.

To be clear, as a “limited partner,” Powell is an investor in the fund – and so is not part of the core team of Kleiner Perkins’ full partners who manage the firm’s activities day-to-day. In that way, Powell is similar to scores of other individual and institutional investors in Kleiner. However, his role extends beyond just investing, which is why the two sides agreed on the additional title “strategic,” Powell said in the interview.

Powell, 68, said he will give talks to entrepreneurs and employees at the start-ups that Kleiner has backed. He also will advise entrepreneurs on how to lead the kinds of large global companies that Kleiner’s start-ups hope to become. He will make regular trips to California, both as part of his existing lecture circuit and to assist Kleiner Perkins, he said.

Energetic Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr has already been rattling off emails daily to Powell, giving General Powell an inkling of what he’s gotten himself into.

Here are the other staff editions Kleiner has made since January. And here is Kleiner’s press release about the Powell appointment.

Other links:
New York Times story
Wall Street Journal (For some reason, we couldn’t find the URL for this story, even though we have a subscription, so we’re linking to the version carried by VentureWire. Sub req)

And Dan Gillmor’s item on this is worth reading.

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