Kleiner Blazes Toward ’99

I’m with Connie this morning, scratching my head at KP’s announced hire of long-time Sunster John Gage.

The only thing I can figure is that the partners are running out of bandwidth. The firm has made 44 investments so far this year, according to data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of PEHub.com).

That’s a lot of investments. It is, in fact, the busiest Kleiner has been since the boom. In 1999, it backed 90 companies, a record it could touch again this year. The firm made only 54 investments last year, by way of comparison.

It may be that Gage was brought on to do one thing, help manage the exploding portfolio as KP re-lives its more youthful boom years.

Then again, he may be there to replace some other partner who will be moving away from the Kleiner family. One gets the sense that KP is a bit like the Hotel California, you can check in anytime you like, but you’ll never get kicked off the homepage (consider the persistence of Vinod Khosla and Russ Siegelman).

Comparing the number of deals KP does this year to what it did a decade ago might strike some as an apples and oranges situation. KP now invests in a much wider swath of industries and locations than it did during the dotcom boom. Pandemic defense, “greentech” and China come to mind.

Keeping a cohesive experience for its portfolio companies must be on the partners’ minds.