Kleiner’s digital fund passes $1 billion mark

Feb 16, 2011

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has been busy since raising $750 million for its Digital Growth Fund late last year, investing big dollars in companies like Groupon and Twitter (plus a tiny stake in Facebook). So busy, in fact, that the legendary VC firm went back to its investors for more money.

Fortune has learned that KP recently increased the Digital Growth Fund's size to more than $1 billion. The firm declined to comment, as it almost always does when it comes to fundraising.

Kleiner's digital growth efforts have been a source of some controversy, with critics suggesting that some of the firm's investments have been driven more by marketing concerns than ROI potential. More specifically, that Kleiner was worried about no longer being viewed as one of the go-to VC firms for Internet entrepreneurs, because its portfolio was missing many of the industry's hottest names (save for Zynga, in which it was a Series B investor).

Supporters counter that Kleiner is simply being opportunistic in a market where an unusual number of brand-name Internet companies remain private and in search of partial liquidity. Moreover, Kleiner digital chief Ted Schlein told Fortune last November that "80% of what we do is still seed or incubation."

Speaking of early-stage, Kleiner is just a few weeks away from closing its fourteenth general fund - of which approximately half will be allocated to digital (including the sFund initiative), with the remainder split between greentech and life sciences. The original target was $650 million, but sources say that the final figure will be slightly higher. For example, some investors have received extra allocations in KPCB XIV, as a "reward" for participating in the Digital Growth Fund.

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