As if VCs didn’t have enough trouble being described as “vulture capitalists,” now a former Fed is mentioning them in the same breath as Osama Bin Laden.
A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard, who resigned from the CIA last year, told The Sunday Times in December that Bin Laden behaves “not as a chief executive but more like a venture capitalist.” He added, “Let’s say you and I want to blow up Trafalgar Square. So we go to Bin Laden. And he’ll say, Well, here’s some money and some passports and if you need weapons, see this guy.’ I don’t see him [Bin Laden] keeping his fingers on everything because the lines of communications are just too difficult.”
Ignition Keys Into Microsoft
The folks at Ignition Partners in Bellevue, Wash., insist that they’re not actively raiding execs from Microsoft Corp. But last month, the 5-year-old firm announced the hiring of John Connors as a partner.
The 45-year-old Connors, who has served as CFO and CIO of the software giant, should feel quite comfortable in his new digs as he joins eight other Microsoft alumni, including partners Brad Silverberg, Cameron Myhrvold and Jon Anderson. Ignition Partner Steve Hooper-who doesn’t have Microsoft on his resume-says that the firm doesn’t actively recruit from Microsoft. “It just so happens Microsoft employees are driven and they have great values, all qualities we look for.”
Bailey Heads To Latvia
The commute from Latvia to Louisville is just too much for Irv Bailey. The longtime Kentucky venture capitalist stepped down from his managing director role with Chrysalis Ventures, after his wife Cathy was confirmed as the new U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, which sits between the Baltic Sea and Russia.
Mr. Bailey will now serve as senior advisor with Chrysalis, and will continue to participate in most Monday morning meetings via telephone. However, there will be no deal making in Latvia, because of governmental prohibitions against diplomats (and spouses) from investing in countries in which they serve.
“I hope that I can help promote the United States while in Latvia,” Bailey said, as he was packing for the move. “The whole thing has been a bit sudden, as we had to wait until the election to know whether or not Cathy would get the appointment.”
Joy To KP
If Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers seems joyful, that’s because it is. Highly regarded computer scientist Bill Joy has joined the firm as a partner. Joy is best known for co-founding Sun Microsystems, which was backed by KP, and leading the development of Java.
“I expect to learn a lot from the other partners and I hope that I can teach as well,” Joy says. “I keep calling it the Fellowship of the Ring.’ We each eventually represent particular companies and become those startups’ ring-bearers, but everyone has to help, and they do. This isn’t a bunch of lone wolves.”
Joy has had a relationship with KP for 23 years-since he co-founded Sun when he was 27 years old. He has also been an LP in some of KP’s funds.
Back To School
Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson is now funding students. The University Venture Fund, a student-run private equity fund at the University of Utah, has raised $5 million from private investors. Draper invested $1 million, joining Sorenson Media CEO James Lee Sorenson and his father, medical device entrepreneur James LeVoy Sorenson, who together provided $500,000. “It looks like the fund will be a great thing,” Draper says.
Compton Can’t Coast
So much for taking it easy. Kevin Compton of Kleiner Perkins was expected to transition into a quasi-part-time role, but he’s just as active as ever. Compton, who already sits on the boards of three companies, has joined the board of XenSource, which raised a Series A from KP in December.
Compton was expected to slow down his investing pace along with partners Vinod Khosla, Doug Mackenzie and Will Hearst when KP closed its $400 million KPCB XI Fund a year ago.
At the time, the firm issued a statement that the aforementioned partners would “work exclusively with the new fund on technology investing, while also planning to spend more time with family and on personal causes.” Asked about his busy schedule, Compton says, “My pace is pretty much unchanged; I’ve been investing at the same rate for the last 15 years.”
However, Compton-who is also active in Pop Warner youth football and has ownership stakes in three professional sports teams, including the San Jose Sharks-says, “I’m planning on doing less deals going forward.” Yeah, right.