Kleiner Perkins’ China Syndrome? Firm Loses Another Founding Partner

David Su, one of the founding partners of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer’s $360 million China Fund, closed in April 2007, is out the door. His departure comes just five months after another founding partner, Joe Zhou, took off to start his own venture fund.

Zhou is still listed at the firm’s Website as an “affiliated partner,” meaning there was no bloodshed, I suppose. Su is gone entirely.

The two departures amount to a remarkable amount of turnover, considering that KPCB’s China Fund started with four partners: Zhou, Su, Tina Ju and Forrest Zhong. Zhou was a less surprising departure than Su; he came from Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund (SAIF), while Su, Ju, and Zhong worked together at TDF Capital Partners, where Ju, Zhong and, notably, Su, continue to be listed partners. Maybe Su tired of double duty? (TDF is still managing out one fund raised in 2000 and another raised in 2005.)
Judging by KCBC’s site, it looks, too, like Su has already been replaced with Ian Goh, a younger partner who is listed as a partner. Goh is also affiliated with TDF; he’s listed as a principal at TDF’s site.

No official word on why Su and KPCB have parted ways. I’ve asked the firm’s John Denniston for comment, but what I typically hear back from the firm sounds like this: “______.”

On a separate note, the fund’s most recent, publicly announced investment came last week: KPCB, along with another firm called Zero2IPO Group, invested $30 million in a Hangzhou City-based business site for travelers called intohotel.com. The startup will ostensibly lower travel expenses for business travelers by inking deals with airline companies and hotels.