Schmidt Reveals Bill Joy’s Investing Technique

Bill JoyIn his recent appearance on the “Charlie Rose Show” Google CEO Eric Schmidt made the claim that Bill Joy uses Google to find venture investments.

I emailed Joy, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, to find out if the somewhat kooky claim is true, but he didn’t respond.

Schmidt, who used to work with Joy at Sun Microsystems, says his friend “uses Google to search for all the new ideas. He reads the papers, so he figures out what the search query is. He reads the paper, and then he calls the [author] to say, ‘What’s new? What’s innovative?’”

And how do the authors respond to these phone calls?

“These are people no one ever calls, so they return his call,” Schmidt says.

The story actually helps to explain why three of the six startups where Joy is a board member aren’t within driving distance of KP’s office on Sand Hill Road, which used to be a prerequisite for a venture investment. The Thomson Reuters VC database shows that MachFlow Energy, which is developing heat pump technology, is based in Worcester, Mass.; Solasta, a maker of solar cells, is located in Newton, Mass.; and Sriya Innovations, which makes ethanol from organic materials, is based in Snug Harbor Marietta, Ga. (Aren’t you just a tad curious what life is like in a place called Snug Harbor Marietta?)

I have to say I find it a bit ironic that a partner at a firm with a “greentech” fund would need to fly to see half of his companies on a regular basis. Joy’s next Google search should be: “How to reduce your carbon footprint.”