Monday, February 2, 2009

General Motors & EEStor & Kleiner Perkins

Lyle at sent me note this weekend with a link to an interview he did with Denise Gray, head of GM's advanced battery division. A little bit later, Hank Green from Ecogeek, sent me what appears to be video of this interview and if you note, it looks like Hank may have been working the camera when the question was asked.

It's good to see GM acknowledging EEStor. Maybe this will cause Kleiner Perkins to stop pretending EEStor doesn't exist....behavior I find in direct contradiction to their self described talent to provide more than "solid financial support." I raise this because in EEStor's case, I can't find any evidence that having Kleiner as an investor has helped EEStor at all beyond the "financial support." Prospective startups should also note Kleiner's policy of investing in competitive companies by simply asking what that policy is. If you are a startup company, how would you feel about one of your major investors funding one of your rivals? Quite frankly, it doesn't make any sense to me. I can understand the generic concept of having a diversified portfolio. That's crystal clear. But when two companies are competing and reporting their progress to a central funding source, how is the proprietary information protected?

Are there any Kleiner Perkins historians out there who can offer more information on Kleiner investing in rival companies? When I asked Kleiner that question via their PR firm, the offer to respond was declined. Additionally, I was told that the stealth mode of it's portfolio companies is dictated by the companies themselves, not Kleiner, even if they often recommend it.