Tony Blair now advising Silicon Valley VC
Silicon Valley venture capital fund Khosla Ventures has roped in former British prime minister Tony Blair as senior advisor, hoping to leverage his international connections and geopolictical expertise.
Menlo Park, California-based Khosla Ventures is among the most active early stage investors in renewables and other alternative energy technologies. Founder Vinod Khosla, a well-known figure in the Silicon Valley technology circuit, himself was an early backer of biofuels.
Blair is not the first high-profile politician to join a Silicon Valley venture fund. Former U.S. Secreatry of State Colin Powell is closely associated with Kleiner Perkins and serves on the board of one of its portfolio companes, fuel cell maker Bloom.
Khosla Ventures’ many clean technology investments include solar thermal company Ausra, geothermal company AltaRock and biofuels makers Mascoma, Coskata, Range Fuels and Verenium.
Blair said he met Khosla, who left Kleiner in 2004 to form Khosla Ventrures, at an environmental conference in the Middle East and was “just fascinated” with the VC’s view of approaching climate change and green technology.
“He just fascinated me with his description of what they were trying to do and why they were trying to do it,” Blair said.
For his part, Khosla said he wanted to tap into Blair’s expertise in policy matters in Europe.
“In the Valley, we are techy nerds,” Khosla said. “We don’t really understand government, policy and global geo politics. I am relatively naive about Europe, China and lots of places. ”
“So this is very complimentary in getting advice in areas we don’t understand.” he added.