For sale: 1 yacht, slightly used. Price: $180M

Tom Perkins spent a reported $130 million building his Maltese Falcon, the world’s largest clipper yacht. Now he’s looking for an exit.

The Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers co-founder has put the 289-foot next-generation sailing vessel on the market for an asking price of $180 million. Apparently it’s not because he needs the money.

“My pleasure comes from the technical and aesthetic challenges of new yacht projects more than from cruising aboard the finished boat,” Perkins told the Wall Street Journal, which reported the used yacht listing in its blog on lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy.

The yacht features three decks, five lower deck staterooms and an upper deck cabin with a private cockpit, a protected sun bathing area and direct access to the wheelhouse, the vessel’s control center.

After getting off board the yacht, Perkins plans to focus next on another hobby: sports submarines. He told VCJ last fall that he is nearing completion of a sports sub capable of diving to 400 feet, traveling up to 10 knots (11.5 mph) and doing loops and rolls.

The sub is designed to “fly” under water, similar to the way a jet airplane flies in the air. According to the Maltese Falcon’s website, the sub does not have ballast tanks, but dives because of its forward speed, “like a penguin does when it hunts.”

An Olympic opportunity

Trinity Ventures Venture Partner Ajay Chopra knows first-hand the benefits that the Olympics can bring to a media tech company. As co-founder of Pinnacle Systems, a maker of post-production tools for high quality video processing, Chopra says that business would jump 20% every four years thanks to the Summer Olympics.

So it’s no surprise to see that Chopra has taken part in Trinity’s first foray into China. The firm has made an undisclosed investment in 21Vianet, a Beijing-based provider of ISP services. Like Pinnacle, 21Vianet is poised to see business take off this summer as China builds up its IT in preparation of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Chopra says.

My pleasure comes from the technical and aesthetic challenges of new yacht projects more than from cruising aboard the finished boat.

Tom Perkins

As the Olympic torch went through its controversial tour in San Francisco early last month, Chopra was preparing to go overseas for his first board meeting at 21Vianet. Asked whether he would return to see the summer games, he replied: “Some people joke that there are two seasons in Beijing—hot and dusty. It’s just too hot in the summer to go.”

On par for due diligence

At the inaugural VCJ Breakfast Series last month, panelist Kelly DePonte, a partner of placement agency Probitas Partners, offered a non-standard measurement technique to gauge the performance of venture firms, much to the delight of the 30 people in attendance.

DePonte noted during the conference, which focused on the secondaries market, that a lot of partners at early stage venture firms made plenty of money during the 1990s, and many of those GPs are still with the firms.

“Some are at the golf course at 3 in the afternoon,” he jokingly said. “So if you want to know how well a venture firm did during the dot-com era, check the partners’ handicaps.”

Stealth models

Polaris Venture Partners recently led a $5.25 million Series A round for a startup website called Modelinia, which comes from the executive team behind Full Picture, a brand and talent management/publicity agency that has ventured out into multimedia endeavors, such as producing Project Runway.

For now, the company’s website is just a one-pager, defining “Modelinia” as a noun meaning: “The obsession over and infatuation with the world’s most beautiful women, celebrating the genetic jackpot of the supermodel industry, coveting their lifestyles and openly admitting to not hating them because they are beautiful.”

We emailed Jon Flint of Polaris to interpret that, but he declined to comment.