The latest chapter of Silicon Valley icon Kleiner Perkins' fall from grace is a tale of succession and leadership struggles

Getty ImagesMary Meeker (left) and John Doerr

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was once the gold-standard of Silicon Valley venture capital firms. But its star has faded in recent years, and last year it was cleaved in half when one of its superstar partners left to start her own firm.

How Kleiner Perkins ended up in its current situation is the subject of a lengthy Fortune magazine feature story by Polina Marinova, that’s worth a read.

Marinova recounts how a combination of unclear leadership and poor investment decisions led the once-prominent Silicon Valley institution to “B-list” status among entrepreneurs. Kleiner Perkins famously missed out on investments in internet services Facebook, Slack, and Robinhood, among others, in favour of going all in on clean energy at the direction of firm leader John Doerr.

When many of these clean energy bets proved unprofitable or went wholly bankrupt Kleiner Perkins brought on acclaimed analyst Mary Meeker to lead a growth fund and get in on the investments they had missed, Fortune reports. Meeker took on late-stage investments in Slack, Robinhood, and other high-growth startups the firm had passed on earlier, according to the report.

Read More:

Acclaimed tech investor Mary Meeker is leaving Kleiner Perkins to start her own fund, and she’s taking her team with her

Meeker’s fund was a rousing success in terms of revamping the firm’s reputation and in turning a profit, according to the report. But as Doerr was looking for his potential successor to lead the firm, he decided to go with Mamoon Hamid from the Social Capital firm, the Fortune report says.

Meeker and Hamid reportedly butted heads on leadership and team staffing issues, including how to best distribute the capital Meeker’s growth fund was generating.

Ultimately, Meeker left Kleiner Perkins in September 2018 to start her own growth firm, Bond, but remains on good terms with Doerr who is still Kleiner Perkins’ chairman, Fortune reported. Hamid remains at the helm of Kleiner Perkins in his day-to-day capacity as General Partner and Managing Director.

Read the full Fortune report on Kleiner Perkins here.

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