John Doerr: The Next Big Thing

This guest post was written by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partners John Doerr, Bing Gordon, Chi-Hua Chien and Ellen Pao. We covered KP’s increase in the size of the iFund last week, and additional insights from KP’s Matt Murphy on the iPad. This post goes into a lot more detail on KP’s investments in the first iFund, and what opportunities they see for the iPad.

It’s hard to imagine that once there was no Internet. Just 15 years ago there was no browser, no web point-and-click. It was 1994, and Steve Jobs had left Apple. Steve was making Toy Story, and object-oriented software for Next.

Then one day Bill Joy showed me a beta version of Mosaic, the FIRST web browser. It was magic. Bill said “John, I have NO idea where this is going. You just better dive in.”

The rest of the 90’s were a ONCE-in-a-lifetime experience. Entrepreneurs created the Web, and great ventures – Netscape, Amazon, Ebay, Google, and others. And they changed our lives. Silicon Valley became the Florence of the New, Networked Economy.

The advent of the iPad feels like deja-vu, like it’s happening all over again. Not once, but TWICE-in-a-lifetime.

Inventing The Future

Newsweek put it best… “Steve has the uncanny ability to cook up gadgets we didn’t know we needed… but suddenly can’t live without.” Steve showed us what computer legend Alan Kay told us… namely, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

At Kleiner Perkins we say “If you can’t INVENT the future, the next best thing… is to FUND it.”

The iFund

So two years ago Apple and Kleiner Perkins announced an unexpected collaboration: the $100 million iFund. The best venture fund for mobile entrepreneurs.

Think back to March 6, 2008. The iFund idea was risky – some thought crazy. There was no 3G iPhone. No apps. No appstore. And no iFund.

Today the iFund is 14 ventures. 3 are stealth. We are proud to have backed great entrepreneurs in communications, gaming, publishing, media, mobile advertising, and mobile commerce. The iFund companies include:

  • Booyah – Creating new forms of entertainment to the masses by bringing together elements of the real world and the digital world. Booyah’s MyTown is the largest social check-in platform today, with over 1.6 million users checking in 4 million times per day.
  • Cooliris – A 3D interface for browsing vast amounts of rich media content on the iPhone and web.
  • GOGII – Leading free texting (textPlus), communication, and group social interaction product for mobile, serving over 5 million users who have exchanged over 2 billion messages on textPlus.
  • iControl – Stay connected in real-time to what matters most – family, property, home, and business-from anywhere in the world, anytime, day or night.
  • InMobi – The largest independent mobile ad network, reaching mobile users in 37 countries.
  • ngmoco – The first iPhone/iPad-only games publisher with 20+ titles and the Plus Network for 3rd party developers. ngmoco’s games are installed on over one-third of all iPhone / iPod users and played over 20 million minutes per day.
  • Pelago (Whrrl) – Mobile social network and discovery app that allows you to find people, places, events, and trends through the eyes of your friends and other people on the Whrrl platform.
  • Pinger – A publisher of great utility and entertainment apps for iPhone, with 13 hit titles on iPhone including Doodle Buddy, Photo Chop and TextFree.
  • Shazam – The world’s leading mobile music discovery and socialization application – enabling consumers to experience and share music with others.
  • shopkick – Focused on the intersection of mobile and the physical retail world, shopkick’s goal is to dramatically improve the experience of consumers’ shopping experience.
  • Zynga mobile – The world’s largest social gaming network, bringing social games to iPhone and iPod Touch.

Each of these companies has received capital from the iFund and participated in bi-annual iFund Summits with other founders, CEOs and industry leaders. Through this network, we’ve seen phenomenal collaboration between iFund companies and tremendous learning in a space that evolves rapidly and changes daily.

iFund ventures have had well over 100 million downloads. And we expect more than $100 million in revenue from these companies this year. We’ve already committed $100 million, and raised another $330 million from others. That’s almost ½ billion dollars.

Good News – Bad News

That’s the good news. Truly good news. But the bad news – is that at the worst possible time, on eve of the iPad, the iFund is out of money.

The first rule of venture capital is (to quote my friend Coach Campbell) is…“you gotta have the friggin’ money.” It’s hard to be a venture capitalist if you don’t have the money.

Doubling Down

So we’re doubling down on the iFund, increasing its size to $200 million dollars. Here’s the real reason why…

The original PCs in the early 80’s were pretty crummy, that is, until 1984 when Apple introduced the mouse and the Mac… Back then Alan Kay, inventor of the Dynabook tablet, said “The Mac is the first PC worth criticizing.”

Fast forward to 2007. When Steve introduced the iPhone, Alan Kay told him “Steve, make the screen size 5 by 8 inches and you’ll rule the world.”

Welcome, iPad

On Saturday (April 3) the iPad arrived. We believe it will rule the world.

I’ve touched it, held it, and caressed it. It feels gorgeous. It feels like touching the future.

It is not a big iPod. But it IS a very big deal.

The New World

We’re going from the Old World to a brave New World.

  • From the Old World of the traditional, tired window interfaces… to the wonderful new world of TOUCH.
  • From the Old World of Point and Click to the new SWOOSH of Fluidity.
  • Instead of old, artificial, indirect interfaces, the iPad is direct and NATURAL.
  • Instead of WYSIWyg – what you see is what you get – it is WYTIWis. What You Touch… IS what IS.
  • Instead of holding a MOUSE, you’re holding MAGIC.

The iPad is the beginning of the New World, the post-PC era.

One More Thing… The Future

April’s iPad shipment is just the beginning. It is truly, just a beginning.

Twice in the last 15 years we’ve witnessed 100,000 flowers blooming. Flowers of applications for the Web, and then for the iPhone. Both were paradigm shifts in how we interact.

Here comes the third shift: interacting fluidly on full and fast screens with vast information stored locally. And that will start a third renaissance of software.

Beyond Browsers

It’s time to move beyond spreadsheets and word processors, beyond web sites limited by browsers… to interactive, connected applications with incredible simplicity, speed, and fluidity.

To a future that transforms games and entertainment, education and publishing, healthcare, communications and commerce.

And almost everything else.

The tablet, the iPad is where these new dreams will blossom. And where the revolution is happening.

Much More Performance

Bill Joy says the key to more performance is lower power. Over the next decade he sees 3 times better batteries, and 10 times lower power chips. So we should be able to run, for the same price, 30 times as much application.

And as for storage, there’s no reason that can’t be 30x also. Or, about a terabyte of local, faster, solid state storage. (A terabyte is several hundred movies)

Interpersonal Surfaces

What’s important is the new ways tablet computers will be used. They won’t just be reactive, responding to commands. They’ll also be proactive.

They will be much more than personal computers. They’ll be interpersonal surfaces and services. Working seamlessly, unobtrusively, and comfortably in the spaces between us, between you and me and others.

To iPADdicts and Entrepreneurs…

I like to define entrepreneurs this way: Entrepreneurs do MORE than anyone thinks possible. With LESS than anyone thinks possible.

At Kleiner we’re awed by entrepreneurs. They surprise us with the improbable – they don’t know what’s impossible.

So to Steve, Supreme Commander of the Rebel Forces, and to the entrepreneurs at Apple, congratulations!

To iPADdicts and entrepreneurs everywhere: there’s never been a better time than now to start or join a new venture, and launch a new application or service.

Whether you’re seeking $50K or a few million or a great job… contact us.

John Doerr,
Matt Murphy,
Chi-Hua Chien,
Bing Gordon,

Aileen Lee,
Ellen Pao,
Ted Schlein,

+1 650 233-2750