Vinod Khosla On The Post-PC Era And Stealth Hamburger Companies

Today during TechCrunch Disrupt, Khosla Ventures’ Vinod Khosla sat down with Erick Schonfeld. They talked about a range of issues but there were three things Khosla kept coming back to: the “Post-PC” era, Khosla’s “cool dozen”, and a stealth hamburger company.

Yes, a stealth hamburger company.

“We are definitely in a Post-PC era,” Khosla said. “We’re in a new domain where’ it’s impossible to predict what’s going on,” he continued. “I think what mobile is doing is creating this Post-PC era,” he went on to say.

Khosla pointed to his investments in Square as a key point in this transition. But he talked about other, smaller startups he has invested in which are pushing mobile as well, like Ness.

When the conversation turned to veture capital itself, Khosla wanted to make something very clear: “I object to being called a venture capitalist.” He said that he prefers the term “venture assistant” and noted that the word “deal” is banned in the Khosla Ventures partnership. The thought there is that “capitalist” and “deal” makes his job seem too much like a situation where entrepreneurs are nothing more than products.

“I don’t like being one of the VCs. Everything is a deal to them,” he said, noting that it seems like it’s not always about helping to build great companies with many of them. “It doesn’t matter what you call it, entrepreneurs need help,” Khosla continued. He said that instead of worrying about the financials he spends the vast majority of his time recruiting for his companies.

Khosla also spoke about what he calls his “cool dozen” areas that excite him in the technology space. A few of them are: data reduction, big data, apps that tap emotion, eduction, health, utilities, the democratization of publishing, and interest graphs.

Finally, the talk kept coming back to some super-secret stealth hamburger company that Khosla recently invested in. “Meat 2.0,” he quipped. He tried to avoid talking more about it, but Erick kept pushing. “This is not like the cheese sandwich thing Sequoia just did,” he said (referring to The Melt), noting that this is really about technology.

“The problem with hamburgers today is that a pound of plant protein only a few percent gets converted into good meat,” Khosla said. “You can improve and perfect things.”

“It’s a stealth hamburger company.” Interesting. Can’t wait to hear more.