Betting that the future of the Web is in social apps and services, Silicon Valley venture capital firm , along with Amazon, Facebook and Zynga, is launching a $250 million fund to help such startups grow.
The sFund will provide financing, counsel, and relationship capital for a new generation of entrepreneurs to deliver on the promise of the social web.
KPCB partner Bing Gordon, a former executive with Electronic Arts and a board member at Amazon, will head the fund, which the firm unveiled at Facebook’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters Thursday.
“Social is just getting started and the opportunities are vast,” Gordon said. “As in the early days of the Internet, the race is on. Today every business, organization, and entrepreneur should have a social strategy.”
The sFund the investment is reminiscent of Kleiner Perkins’ "iFund," which launched two years ago to help launch applications for Apple’s gadgets.
"We’re at the beginning of a new era for social Internet innovators who are reimagining and reinventing a Web of people and places, looking beyond documents and websites," said KPCB partner John Doerr in a statement. "There’s never been a better time than now to start a new social venture."
Kleiner Perkins was an early backer of such companies as Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and AOL.
The firm cited four of its own portfolio companies as examples of opportunities in social media:
• Cafébots – “The first company dedicated to Friend Relationship Management. By building applications that are useful, fun, and scalable, consumers will be able to extract more information from and make better use of their social graphs. KPCB led a Series A funding for the company founded by a team of Stanford PhDs.”
• Flipboard – “The world’s first social magazine, delivering a beautiful, personalized experience of the news, images, and information being shared by your friends across social network feeds on your iPad.”
• Jive – “Jive’s social software leverages innovations in social to radically change the way work gets done in the enterprise. Jive has over 3,000 customers serving 15 million users. KPCB led a growth stage funding round in July.”
• Lockerz – “A new social commerce company aimed at ages 13-30 creates a revolutionary new way to shop, play content, and connect. In less than a year, Lockerz has grown to more than 17 million members, offering major discounts on the best fashions, electronics, music, and more.”
Comcast Corp., Liberty Media Corp. and Allen & Co. have also agreed to invest.
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