Kleiner Perkins In the Media Spotlight

It should come as little surprise to VC watchers that Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is often quoted and talked about in the media.

The firm, which boasts such high-profile partners as John Doerr and Brook Byers in addition to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, also garners a lot of press for its near $800 million green growth fund.

But I was a little surprised by how much more attention Kleiner Perkins got, compared to its peers.

Over the last six months, Kleiner Perkins ranks as the most talked about venture firm, far and away ahead of Sequoia Capital, Benchmark Capital and Accel Partners, among other household VCs. That, according to ITDatabase, a San Francisco-based tech media research agency, which tracked quotations and other references in tech-related news stories, both online and in print.

ITDatabase, which issued its report earlier this week, listed the top 10 media grabbers and the references they received:

588 Kleiner Perkins
485 Sequoia Capital
427 Benchmark Capital
342 Accel Partners
301 Intel Capital
293 New Enterprise Associates
268 Union Square Ventures
259 Draper Fisher Jurvetson
255 Spark Capital
235 Khosla Ventures

For issuing its first-ever report on a VC media survey, ITDatabase co-founder Travis Van had several interesting takes.

One thing he noted was the absence of the high-flying VCs from the late 1990s, such as Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, which used to be talked about frequently, thanks to its investments in Napster and Pets.com. Now, the San Francisco-based firm doesn’t even crack the top 50.

Van also noted that press coverage of VCs is mostly driven by a small number of hot companies.  Firms on this list get a disproportionate amount of their press from their most prominent two or three deals, he said. So if you backed Facebook, Twitter or Zynga Game Networks, chances are good you’re on the list. Union Square, for instance, which counts among its partnership ranks the frequent blogger Fred Wilson, is an investor in Twitter and ranked high in the survey

“One metric that we wish we could come up with is how much time the VCs invest in media relations efforts proportionate to how much coverage they get,” Van said to me. “There are some individual venture capitalists who spend a significant amount of time specifically nurturing press relationships. And there are others that dedicate very little time. Is there a correlation between how widely publicized a venture capital firm is and the types of entrepreneurs/startups they attract? What percentage of overall starpower is defined by publicity?”

Now that they have a benchmark, Van hopes future iterations of the survey at least spots patterns of VCs on the move or decline.

If you look at the report from ITDatabase, you’ll notice it includes lists of journos and media organizations that track VC activity. Under the extended author list, you’ll find yours truly, thanks to the work I do with Reuters. But where is Dan, Erin and the rest of my colleagues? For that matter, where’s peHUB and the other publications I work on, PE Week and VCJ? ITDatabase founder Travis Van apologized to me about that and speculated that the high cost of PEW and VCJ may have had a bearing on the oversight. He promised to take a look again and include our VC-focused pubs in the next report.