“There is only one Mary Meeker,” the head of Kleiner Perkins had said when she was hired in 2010, underlining her clout in the male-dominated venture capital industry that has earned her the title of ‘Queen of the Internet’.
Little wonder then that Meeker’s decision to leave the American venture capital firm has created ripples across the industry. A New York Times report termed her departure as a “significant loss” to Kleiner, one of the oldest investment firms that was an early backer of tech giants such as Google and Amazon.
Meeker is leaving to start her own venture capital firm, which will bet on mature startups. The investment firm could also seek to invest more outside the US, The New York Times cited Meeker as saying.
Along with Meeker, three of her colleagues—Mood Rowghani, Noah Knauf and Juliet de Baubigny—have also quit Klenier. They are all expected to be part of her new venture.
The mass exodus at Kleiner comes after its long-time and highly revered employee John Doerr left the firm in 2016. The investment firm is also facing criticism for missing out investing in the initial wave of social networking startups and instead focusing on clean-tech deals. Its image was further battered after its former employees issued a gender discrimination suit.
Meanwhile, Meeker and her partners will continue to invest from Kleiner’s $1 billion vehicle – KPCB Digital Growth Fund III.
At Kleiner, Meeker led investments in social networking firms such as Facebook and Twitter while at their growth stages.
Prior to Kleiner, she started her career as an analyst at Morgan Stanley in the 1990s and worked there for the next 19 years. She carved a name for herself by advocating risky dot-com stocks in her early days and even through the bust in 2000. Her annual internet trends report is seen as required reading in the technology industry.
In India, Kleiner had made investments along with Ram Shriram-led Sherpalo Ventures. The portfolio of companies from the country included e-commerce ventures Greendust and Futurebazaar, renewable energy firm Kotak Urja, location services firm MapMyIndia, online photo printing startup Zoomin and mobile payments firm Paymate. In 2014, Mumbai-based VC firm Lightbox, led by Sandeep Murthy, bought out these six portfolio companies from Sherpalo and Kleiner. Some of Kleiner’s other India investments include ad-tech firm InMobi and Info Edge-owned jobs portal Naukri.