Vinod Khosla and Venture Investments – A Lethal Combination for Success

Vinod Khosla and venture investments

Among top billionaires in the world (according to Forbes), Vinod Khosla is a well-known and well-acclaimed tech guru, engineer, technologist, entrepreneur and a businessman. He soared to popularity way back in 1980s when he founded Sun Microsystems where he was the chairman and CEO. Later on Vinod Khosla and venture investments became synonyms when he launched his own venture capital firm, Khosla Ventures.

Let us look at how Vinod carved a path of success for himself.

Vinod Khosla and Venture Investments, and Beyond

 Here we will go through details of his early life and education, his different business endeavors, success at KPCB, start of Khosla Ventures and his affiliations as well as accomplishments.

The Early Days

Despite the fact that Vinod was from an army family, right from early age he showed interest in technology and entrepreneurship. At the age of sixteen, he learned that Intel was founded and made up his mind to start his own technology firm. This proved to be a turning point since Vinod from then on started pursuing a career in technology.

B.E.E. | Masters in Biomedical Engineering | MBA

Right after completing B.E.E. from IIT, New Delhi, he tried to startup a soymilk company but that endeavor failed. He then decided to move to US for further studies where he completed his masters from Carnegie Mellon University in biomedical engineering.

He then moved to Silicon Valley and completed his MBA from Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.

The First Business Endeavor – Daisy Systems

As soon as he completed his MBA, he joined Daisy Systems as a co-founder, an electronic design automation firm. The company started performing well, made good revenue and had an IPO as well. But, soon enough he got frustrated since it was necessary to design the hardware upon which the software was to be built.

The Start of Sun Microsystems

Instead, in 1982 he co-founded a new company, called Sun Microsystems (SUN being abbreviation for Stanford University Network) which aimed to develop workstations to be used by software developers.

The other co-founders of the company were his classmates from Stanford, Andy Bechtolsheim, Scott McNealy and Bill Joy (a computer science graduate from UC Berkeley). The company was funded by John Doerr, who was one of his friends as well as one of the board members of KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers), a venture capital company.

Vinod remained Sun Microsystem’s CEO and first chariman from 1982 till 1984 but then decided to leave the company and turn into a venture capitalist.

During his stay at Sun Microsystems, he pioneered use of RISC processors as well as other open systems.

Success at KPCB

He joined KPCB in 1986 as one of the general partners and played a crucial role for the company in many different ways.

Advent of Nexgen: First of all, he played an instrumental role in challenging monopoly of Intel by building Nexgen, a semiconductor company which was finally acquired by AMD (Advanced Micro Devices).

Rise of Juniper Networks: The next successful business that Vinod helped grow was Juniper Networks which stood against dominance of Cisco in the router market. In addition to it, Vinod played a decisive role in search strategy for the web search firm Excite.

Transformation of Cerent Corporation: Last but not the least, he helped in transformation of Cerent Corporation, which had turned into a declining telecommunications business and its SONET implementation had turned quite old. The transformation was so successful that Cisco System eventually acquired the company for a whopping $7.2billion in 1999.

The Other Endeavors

  • Association with Microfinance Companies: Apart from his association with KPCB, he has been associated with many microfinance companies such as SKS Microfinance.
  • Charter Member of TiE: He is also a charter member as well as co-founder of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), which is a global network (non-profit) of professionals as well as entrepreneurs that has in excess of forty chapters in almost 9 countries around the world.
  • Board Member of ISB: Additionally, Vinod is also a board member (founding) of ISB which stands for Indian School of Business.

Vinod Khosla and Venture Investments – The Advent of Khosla Ventures

ventureinvestmentsWay back in 2004, Vinod decided to launch his own venture capital company by the name of Khosla Ventures. The aim was to concentrate on investments which are for-profit as well as have a social impact and provide sources of capital for new venture.

Vinod himself funds investments and the firm on its part also manages investor capital worth about $1billion and the company has become a good source of venture money. By 2009, Vinod finished fundraising for few other new funds so that investment can be made in information technology and cleantech start-ups. Moreover, as part of Vinod Khosla and venture investments, Khosla Ventures III has been able to attract investor commitments worth about $750million so that investments can be made in traditional growth as well as early stage companies.

Another major achievement for Vinod has been successful raising of $250million for what would be known as Khosla Seed and it will be investing in only high risk opportunities.

The Affiliations and Accomplishments

Vinod Khosla and venture investments are a popular topic on many investment magazines. But Vinod has been in the limelight throughout his career for other things also and has several accomplishments to his name. Let us briefly look at few of the them in the following section.

  • An Honorary Chair: He has been Honorary Chair of advisory board of DonorsChoose in San Francisco Bay area.
  • EY Entrepreneur of the Year: Vinod received award of EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 in Northern California region.
  • Board of Trustees Member: He is also a Board of Trustees member of at University of Californis, Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies. This center focuses on locating solutions which address problem of diseases and extreme poverty that countries in developing world face.
  • HackerRank Advisor: Lastly, Vinod is also an HackerRank advisor, which has successfully developed a platform that would help technology firms do proper evaluation of programming skills candidates possess.

The Motto in Life

Vinod’s motto in life has been quite straightforward, work and at the same time learn from knowledgeable as well as fun entrepreneurs. In addition to it, he also wants to develop impactful companies by making proper use of innovations. Last but not the least, Vinod want to invest more time in partnerships which strive to make a difference as well as assist them with seed and venture capital.

Vinod Khosla and venture investments have become synonyms but Vinod is also known to have great passion for budding technologies which impart a beneficial and positive economic impact over society.

The Passion

Vinod has always been passionate to mentor entrepreneurs who want to build businesses which are mostly technology based and makes available sources of capital for new venture in the form of venture money. His desire is to leave a positive impact by scaling new available energy sources, achieve petroleum freedom and promote a realistic approach to environment.

In addition to it, he is also known for his passion regarding social entrepreneurship and pays special focus on microfinance, which can work as a tool for alleviation of poverty. Vinod also closely functions with KV companies which are facing key decisions or are facing transitions, assisting them with seed and venture capital.

The Controversy Revolving Around Martins Beach

Vinod was also involved in a controversy wherein he faced legal dispute about Martins Beach public access.

Vinod had tried to close access to the beach by putting up a gate and placing armed guards. But his decision was challenged in court and he finally lost that suit. He was instructed by the court not to block access for public to the beach and he has to obtain permit for the same from California Coastal Commission if he wants to do so.

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