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Venture capital pioneer Tom Perkins dies at 84

TechCrunch TechCrunch 9/06/2016 Anthony Ha

Thomas Perkins, who co-founded venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has died of natural causes. He was 84 years old.

Before becoming an investor, Perkins founded a company called University Labs and was the first general manager of Hewlett Packard’s computer divisions. He co-founded Kleiner Perkins with Eugene Kleiner in 1972, helping to lay the foundation for venture capital in Silicon Valley.

During his career, Perkins served on the boards of a number of well-known companies including Compaq, Genentech and News Corp. Perkins was also on the HP board, but he resigned in 2006 due to his objections to a board investigation of press leaks. In recent years, he also attracted criticism for a letter in the Wall Street Journal comparing the “rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent” to Nazi Germany. (The letter was, in part, a response to negative coverage of Perkins’ ex-wife Danielle Steele.)

At our Disrupt SF conference in 2013, Perkins appeared with Sequoia Capital founder Don Valentine, where he explained his investing style: “I feel you invest in the idea, because bad people don’t have good ideas.”

We’ve reached out to Kleiner Perkins for comment and will update if we hear back.

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