Kleiner to invest in Indian clean-tech firms

Kleiner to invest in Indian clean-tech firms

Mumbai: KPCB, or Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital firm that has backed companies such as Amazon.com, Google Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc., wants to actively invest in clean- technology companies in India. The firm, which has entered into a strategic alliance with former US vice-president Al Gore’s investment management firm Generation Investment Management, is examining several companies in this space and is likely to close deals within the next three-six months.

“The biggest opportunities for investing in clean technology companies will be in India along with China and the US," says Ray Lane, partner, KPCB. Globally, it has invested close to $300 million (Rs1,182 crore) in 25 clean technology companies across eight sectors such as solar, energy efficiency and energy storage. The firm, which specializes in technology investments, hopes to draw on Generation Investment’s expertise in the sustainable energy sector to identify more clean tech businesses.

In India, the company expects a majority of its investments to come from solar power and distribution generation (which includes bio-fuels) companies. Typical deal size would be $3-5 million, but could go up to $10 million. The newly forged partnership could also bring in later stage investments into this market through Generation Investment. “Some of the opportunities here are very late stage, which would be suitable for Generation Investment," says Ajit Nazre, partner, KPCB.

The firm, which invests here out of a global fund, says it has no plans to launch an India-specific fund as of now.

KPCB, which partners with Sherpalo Ventures for all its India investments, has so far been focused on consumer-facing businesses. It has invested in five companies in the IT and Internet sectors, including Info Edge (I) Pvt. Ltd, which owns job portal Naukri.com; CE Info Systems Pvt. Ltd, which owns mapping portal MapMyIndia.com; and online travel portal Cleartrip.com. KPCB may go solo on its clean tech deals, and “will not necessarily co-invest with Sherpalo," says Nazre.