Khosla Ventures new $1.05 billion fund means good news for clean tech


Solar system installer Thomas Bywater adjusts new solar panels on the roof of a house in Sydney August 19, 2009. (TIM WIMBORNE/REUTERS)

One of the world’s most renowned venture capitalists, Vinod Khosla, has raised a $1.05 billion fund, and he’s focusing on clean technology.

A co-founder of Sun Microsystems and formerly with venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Khosla has created one of the top five largest funds this year, according to VentureSource. Roughly half of the new fund will be invested in clean technology, according to a Thursday report by The Wall Street Journal. The firm’s past investments include texting service GroupMe and a partnership with the Designer Fund, with a focus on the team, rather than the product, according to VentureBeat.

The news comes as investigations continue into the bankruptcy of solar firm Solyndra — one of the highest-profile venture-backed clean tech companies. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, Khosla is dedicated to investing in a wide range of clean tech firms, including biofuels and energy-efficient lighting. But why, with Solyndra’s high-profile failure and the promise of other, more reliable investments, would Khosla invest such a large portion of one of the year’s largest funds into clean tech? Here’s what Khosla told the Journal:

“Just because Solyndra failed doesn’t make it bad” for clean tech across the board, he said.

While it remains to be seen whether the clean tech start-ups at the receiving end of this fund will succeed, clean tech is not the only sector Khosla plans to invest in. Of the remaining funds, some will go towards early-stage technology firms.

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