Khosla Ventures Hires Condoleezza Rice To Help Figure Out Emerging Markets

Condi Rice

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Khosla Ventures, the venture firm founded by Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, said it had retained former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her consulting firm as strategic advisers.

The move points to the growing importance venture firms attach to helping their portfolio companies with policy and regulations.

“We’ll help the companies navigate government and regulatory concerns abroad,” said Anja Manuel, a partner at RiceHadleyGates, Rice’s consulting firm. “We’ll help with negotiating the world of emerging markets, understanding where to expand to.”

The firm will also help with executive coaching, she added.

Understanding overseas markets is increasingly important as so many Khosla companies find themselves doing business all over the world, said Khosla partner Samir Kaul. Global expertise is crucial for energy companies, he said, an area in which Khosla has a number of investments, especially in the alternative-energy sector.

Kaul said he and Rice first got to know each other while serving on the board of biomass fuels company KiOR.

Earlier this year, rival venture firm Andreessen Horowitz hired Adrian Fenty, the former mayor of Washington, D.C., as an adviser. It had hired former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers as an adviser last year.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where Khosla previously worked as a venture capitalist, lists former Vice President Al Gore and former Secretary of State Colin Powell on its team.

Khosla Ventures, founded in 2004, is perhaps best known for its backing of clean-technology and Internet companies. Its portfolio companies include microserver company SeaMicro, acquired by chip designer AMDearlier this year for $334 million, and business social-networking service Yammer, acquired by Microsoftearlier this year for $1.2 billion.

(Reporting By Sarah McBride; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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