Former Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore has joined venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner to concentrate on green technology investments.
To date, Kleiner Perkins has had something of a mixed record when it comes to clean tech. The firm has invested in Miasole, which recently swapped CEOs and has had to delay products. It is also an investor in EEStor, a mysterious supercapacitor company that has delayed its product and is going through some management changes. The firm has also not been part of some of the early, successful IPOs in clean tech like EnerNoc or First Solar.
On the other hand, it has placed money in some companies that many believe have a lot of promise: Ausra, the Australian solar thermal company and Mascoma, a cellulosic ethanol company that has laid plans to build three plants in the U.S. (with millions in state subsidies). It also has a stake in Amyris Biotechnologies, one of the early companies in synthetic biology. Amyris makes compounds for treating malaria and wants to get into feedstocks for synthetic fuel.
So who knows. Compared with these guys, I live in abject squalor.
Gore is one of a number of "name" individuals the firm has recruited over the years. Others include heir Will Hearst III, former Oracle honcho Ray Lane, and Sun Microsystems scientist Bill Joy.