Kleiner Launches iPhone Fund

This just in: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is launching a $100M fund to back companies developing applications for the iPhone.

I don’t know enough about it to have an opinion yet, but a few questions have come to mind. One, are the Google Boys going to be pissed at Board Member John Doerr because KP hasn’t done a similar fund for the “Android” cell phone operating platform? Another question: Where are Venrock and Sequoia Capital in this? They were Apple’s original backers. One last question: Where is Al Gore? He sits on Apple’s board and, the last time I checked, he was a KP GP. He’s not mentioned anywhere in the release. I have to believe he played some kind of in connecting Jobs with the KP team.

Here’s the press release:

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 6 — Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) today announced the launch of the iFund with $100 million in venture capital to invest in companies developing applications and services for Apple’s innovative iPhone and iPod touch. The iFund, managed by KPCB, will be invested in companies with market-changing ideas and products that extend the revolutionary new iPhone and iPod touch platform. Apple will provide KPCB with market insight and support.

“A revolutionary new platform is a rare and prized opportunity for entrepreneurs, and that’s exactly what Apple has created with iPhone and iPod touch,” said John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “We think several significant new companies will emerge as this new platform evolves, and the iFund will empower them to realize their full potential.”

“Developers are already bursting with ideas for the iPhone and iPod touch, and now they have the chance to turn those ideas into great companies with the help of world-class venture capitalists,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait to start working with Kleiner Perkins and the companies they fund through this new initiative.”

The iFund will be led by KPCB partner Matt Murphy in collaboration with partners John Doerr, Bill Joy, Randy Komisar, Ted Schlein and Chi-Hua Chien. The initiative will be agnostic to stage and size of investment with a focus on areas including location based services, social networking, mCommerce, communication and entertainment. The iFund will seek to fund entrepreneurs pursuing transformative ideas with the potential to become standalone, public companies. In addition to providing capital, KPCB will assist with company-building expertise, business development relationships and access to its vast network of talented entrepreneurs.

Since its founding in 1972, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has backed entrepreneurs in over 500 ventures, including AOL, Amazon.com, Citrix, Compaq Computer, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Genomic Health, Google, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, Lotus, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, Verisign and Xilinx. KPCB portfolio companies employ more than 250,000 people. More than 150 of the firm’s portfolio companies have gone public. Many other ventures have achieved success through mergers and acquisitions. KPCB has been an active investor in mobile ventures with over 20 portfolio companies in the sector. Current portfolio companies including Pelago, Dash, GOGII and Pinger will collaborate closely with the iFund initiative.