Thomas J. Perkins, co-founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is remembered as a pioneer in the venture capital industry.
Mr. Perkins, 84, died Tuesday.
In a written statement, KPCB co-founders Brook Byers and Frank Caufield said: ”Tom was a pioneer in the venture capital industry. He defined what we know of today as entrepreneurial venture capital by going beyond just funding to helping entrepreneurs realize their visions with operating expertise.”
Messrs. Byers and Caufield noted that Mr. Perkins was present at the start of the “biotech industry and the computer revolution.”
“Tom was our partner and friend, and we will miss him.”
The National Venture Capital Association in a statement credited Mr. Perkins with being “one of the founders of the modern-day venture capital industry.”
“Not without controversy, Tom was outspoken on issues he felt passionate about and never one to shy away from sharing his honest opinion,” Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of the NVCA, said in the statement. “There was never a question of his commitment to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and pushing the boundaries of innovation through the creation of entire new industries. He will be missed, but his legend lives on.”
Before co-founding Kleiner Perkins with Eugene Kleiner in 1972, Mr. Perkins started a company, University Laboratories, to manufacture lasers based on his original inventions in optics. University Laboratories later merged with Spectra-Physics. Mr. Perkins also was the first general manager of Hewlett Packard Co.’s computer division, before forming Kleiner Perkins.
Mr. Perkins left Kleiner Perkins in the 1980s. He had been a director on a number of public companies including Applied Materials Technologies Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Genentech Inc. and News Corp.