KKR and Kleiner Go Green

Earlier this week I made a typo that now seems kind of prophetic. In discussing later-stage/public equity initiatives at venture capital firms, I mistakenly wrote “Sequoia Capital and KKR,” instead of “Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins.”

Now KKR and KP are very different animals, but both firms this morning announced major initiatives in the green space. In fact, both announcements worked their way into the exact same WSJ article.

Ok, maybe not prophetic, but at least very coincidental…

First up is KKR, which has formed a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund to “measure and improve the environmental performance of companies within KKR’s U.S. portfolio.” The venture is a continuation of work the two groups did together for KKR’s acquisition of TXU, which was widely lauded for its attention to environmental detail. This too deserves laurels, and could serve as a possible model for other private equity firms with large portfolios. If big PE firms can use shared services to cut down on health insurance costs, they can certainly cut down on waste (water, greenhouse gas emissions, toxic substance use, etc.) portfolio-wide. The only addendum I’d make is that the program should apply to KKR’s worldwide portfolio – not just its companies in the U.S.

As for Kleiner Perkins, the venture firm confirmed what peHUB reported last week: It has formed a “green growth” fund to invest in later-stage cleantech companies. It’s being co-run by KP partner John Denniston and former Goldman Sachs energy investor Ben Kortland. The size is $500 million, with part of that money coming from Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management. In other KP news, the firm also has raised $700 million for its thirteenth early-stage venture fund.