Famed internet-analyst-turned-venture-capitalist Mary Meeker is leaving Kleiner Perkins and taking much of her investing team with her, marking a major split between the storied venture firm’s early and growth-stage investing teams.
The reasons for the split range from differences on what deals to pursue to operational details, according to Recode. Kleiner Perkins itself portrayed the split as a way to refocus the firm. “We believe two independent funds, each with a team focused on what they do best, makes for a greater whole to maximize value for the portfolio and LPs,” Ted Schlein, one of the general partners at Kleiner Perkins, told the Wall Street Journal (paywall).
Meeker is one of the few household names in the venture industry. She earned the moniker “Queen of the Internet” (paywall) for her incisive analysis and bullish take on internet startups during the last decade detailed in her annual internet trends report. Her departure may not be good news for Kleiner Perkins as it struggles to get back to its early-stage investing roots.
Kleiner Perkins was once at the top of the venture capital game in Silicon Valley. It invested in Netscape, Google, and Amazon on their way up. But after the dot-com crash in 2000, the firm’s subsequent bets on clean-tech companies didn’t pay off, and then it missed opportunities to back social media startups.
Meeker’s presence has been a bright spot after high-profile investor John Doerr stepped aside in 2016, and her status as one of the valley’s few senior women was a stabilizing force after a gender discrimination case by Ellen Pao rocked the firm. At a time when almost every major venture firm is adding women to its investor ranks, Kleiner Perkins, between Meeker’s departure and the unrelated exit of Beth Seidenberg, is losing the last of its female general partners.