Mary Meeker leaves Kleiner Perkins to start her own firm

Steven Loeb · September 14, 2018 · Short URL:

The influential author of the Internet Trends Report has taken three other investors with her

One of the most prominent, and well-know, women in venture capital is striking out on her own.

Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the author of the annual Internet Trends Report, is leaving the firm she joined eight years ago to start her own late-stage venture. This news was first reported by Recode on Friday, and has since been confirmed to VatorNews by the firm.  

Meeker joined KPCB in 2010 and was in charge of the firm's Digital Growth Fund, which raised $1 billion in 2016 to invest in late-stage deals. According to Recode, however, the two sides of the firm, meaning the early-stage investors and the late-stage investors, have been growing apart in recent years, and the decision was made last week for the late-stage team, which also includes Mood Rowghani, Noah Knauf and Juliet de Baubigny, to spin-off into its own firm. 

In a statement to Vator, a spokesperson for Kleiner Perkins said that splitting up of the two teams was a natural extension of how venture capital is currently evolving. 

"The environment for venture has evolved — with larger checks being written for seed and A rounds and more support from partners required to build companies — demanding a high degree of specialization and extreme focus to excel. The changes in both areas have led to less overlap between venture and growth and creating two separate firms with different people and operations now makes sense," they said. 

Prior to joining KCPB, Meeker had spent nearly 20 years at  Morgan Stanley as one of its lead researchers focused solely on the growing influence of personal computers and the Web. A series of studies she published, the Internet Report in 1995, followed by advertising and e-commerce studies in 1996 and 1997, got her the nickname “Queen of the Internet,” which was bestowed on her by Barron’s in 1998.

Since then Meeker has been involved in investments in companies that include Facebook, Spotify, Square, Twitter, Airbnb, Houzz, Instacart, LegalZoom, Nextdoor, Pinterest and Slack.

Troubled times at KPCB

Founded in 1972, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is one of the most preeminent names in venture capital. The firm focuses its investments in three categories: digital, clean tech and life sciences, and has put money into more than 500 companies including in AOL, Amazon, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Google, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, WebMD and Zynga.

Yet, things have been rocky in recent years, starting with the high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former partner Ellen Pao; the firm won the suit but saw its reputation damaged in the process. That was followed by the announcement from Founding John Doerr in March that he would become Chairman of the firm, rather than being a general partner in any of its funds.

Since being taken over by Ted Schlein, KPCB has seen a number of its investors leave, including Mike Abbot, who announced he was leaving the firm in August of last year, and Arielle Zuckerberg, Mark's sister, who left a month earlier

Around the same time, the firm closed down its Edge program, a new seed fund that it had started in 2015 to a focus on emerging software spaces, including virtual reality, drones and blockchains. That led to the departures of investors Anjney Midha, Roneil Rumburg and Ruby Lee.

Most recently, it was revealed in May that Kleiner Perkins general partner Beth Seidenberg would also be leaving to found her own fund. Called Westlake Village BioPartners, it announced just last week that it has raised $320 million to focus on investing in the life sciences space.

With Seidenberg, and now Meeker, leaving KCPB, the firm will have just one female partner in Lynne Chou O'Keefe.

VatorNews reached out to Meeker for comment, as well as to find out more details about her new firm. We will update this story if we learn more. 

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