-- The following profile is an abbreviated version of Venture Capital Journal contributor Deborah Gage's piece for the the VCJ's series on "Hot Prospects" within the venture capital industry. --
At age 33, Alex Kinnier was rising quickly through the ranks at Google, but he didn’t feel fulfilled. The chemical engineer wanted to help the world with clean technologies. A phone call with popular venture capitalist Vinod Khosla that lasted several hours put him on the path to happiness.
Kinnier took a pay cut to join Khosla Ventures, but he was thrilled to be back in the cleantech arena. When he got the urge to leave to start a company, Khosla talked him into staying and becoming a venture capitalist.
“I judge people on the way they think - most people in investment react to investments, and (Kinnier) can think clearly about what’s important,” Khosla said. “Every situation is different—the risks are different, the strategy is different, so much is different. I don’t want a reaction based on experience or bias. I want someone who can think things through, and he’s really good at that.”
Kinnier’s investments include Pellion Technologies, which is working on a next-generation battery; Recapping, which is developing a high-density energy storage device; Solum, which provides data to farmers about soil nutrient levels and advises how much fertilizer to apply; Reluceo, a developer of bio-based materials; and Skybox, which is building low-cost satellites.