Tony Blair Joins Khosla Ventures

Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, has joined Khosla Ventures as a senior advisor. The announcement was made today during Khosla’s annual limited partner meeting.

Blair will focus on Khosla’s cleantech portfolio.

In a formal statement, he said: “I am increasingly and crucially aware of the fact that the answer to these twin challenges — climate change and energy security — lies in developing the technological solutions of the future.”

PRESS RELEASE

Khosla Ventures, a venture assistance firm that focuses on cleantech and information technology startups, today announced a strategic partnership with Tony Blair Associates. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his team will leverage his advocacy for environmental issues and his global relationships to help Khosla’s broad portfolio of clean technology companies maximize their effectiveness in achieving their environmental goals. Founded by Vinod Khosla in 2004, Khosla Ventures is developing one of the largest, most diverse, and eclectic cleantech portfolios. Khosla Ventures views partnerships with large corporations, environmental and governmental organizations essential to maximizing its environmental impact. As part of the relationship, Mr. Blair accompanied Vinod Khosla yesterday to tour the Calera green cement demonstration plant in Moss Landing, Calif.

Tony Blair Associates will offer strategic advice to Khosla Ventures’ green portfolio companies, drawing on his considerable geopolitical, political, organizational and environmental expertise. With Mr. Blair’s support, Khosla Ventures will continue to foster innovations that can cost-effectively reduce carbon emissions – in areas that include solar, batteries, biofuels, lighting, mechanical and energy efficiency, and building materials. Mr. Khosla dubs their area of focus “maintech” rather than “cleantech,” as he believes the infrastructure of society will be substantially impacted by technologists and entrepreneurs supported by his and other similar portfolios.

“Solving the climate crisis is more than just a political agenda item – it’s an urgent priority that requires innovation, creativity, and ambition,” said Tony Blair. “I share a clear vision with Vinod, one of the earliest leaders in cleantech investment, that entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond will have a tremendous impact on our environmental future. Vinod’s portfolio companies are galvanizing scientific and technological know-how into businesses that can make a huge difference in reducing carbon and other emissions, and I look forward to dedicating a portion of my time to help them move us toward a more sustainable tomorrow. The Khosla Ventures organization is particularly effective in assisting entrepreneurs to develop and deploy their technologies all over the world.”

Mr. Blair has long led on climate change issues, both in the U.K. and worldwide. He was the first major head of government to bring climate change to the top of the international political agenda at the 2005 Gleneagles G8 summit. He is a proponent of pursuing practical solutions to tackle climate change through technology and energy efficiency. Tony Blair now leads the Breaking the Climate Deadlock initiative, a strategic partnership with The Climate Group, working with world leaders to build consensus on a new comprehensive international climate policy framework.

“I have always admired Mr. Blair’s early and consistent commitment to addressing climate change,” said Mr. Khosla. “His goals align so well with our own mission to support disruptive startups in the cleantech space and to find technology solutions that can achieve unsubsidized market competitiveness for green technologies. We believe in attempting to achieve the ‘Chindia price point,’ the price at which even developing countries will voluntarily adopt these carbon efficient technologies. It’s a price that is either cheaper than fossil alternatives or can achieve less than one year payback for efficiency investments, and is the key to scalable global adoption of environmentally beneficial technologies. With Tony’s advice and influence, we will create opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators to devise practical solutions that can solve today’s most pressing crisis at a global scale while creating new jobs, new businesses and new sources of sustainable growth. Many more Google, Apple and Facebook-like new companies will be created in the environmental space based on breakthrough black swan technologies.”

Mr. Blair’s appointment was announced today as a part of the Khosla Ventures Limited Partner Summit near San Francisco, Ca. While on location, Mr. Blair will participate on a panel with Vinod Khosla and executives from selected cleantech startups in Khosla Ventures’ green portfolio. Featured companies include Calera, which creates carbon-negative building products; Cogenra, developer of highly efficient solar solutions; EcoMotors, developer of high-efficiency internal combustion engines; KiOR, a leading biofuels company that converts biomass to high-quality bio-crude oil; New PAX, Inc., an inventor of high efficiency HVAC technology; and Soraa, innovator of highly efficient and affordable LEDs. Later that evening Mr. Blair and Bill Gates will speak to the Khosla Ventures entrepreneurs and limited partners.

About Khosla Ventures

Khosla Ventures helps entrepreneurs deliver lasting change through technological innovation. The firm, founded in 2004 by Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs with the audacity to take on what others may call insoluble dilemmas. Khosla Ventures’ team members have known the stress of working through a crisis and the thrill of growing an idea into a multi-billion dollar company. The firm leverages that experience to help entrepreneurs turn technological risk into new opportunities. Today Khosla Ventures has one of the largest and broadest clean technology portfolios (including solar, energy storage, nuclear power, wind and high-efficiency engines), as well as holdings in traditional technology sectors such as mobility, Internet and silicon. For more information, visit khoslaventures.com.

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