John Doerr, who backed many of the most successful digital entrepreneurs as a partner with Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers in the U.S., including the Google and Amazon founders, expressed some controversial political opinions at the CED Tech Venture Conference Tuesday.
Doerr, asked about his long commitment to clean energy technologies in his career, said, “I think we’re on the cusp of catastrophic climate change. Just witness the extreme weather! The science is clear. So far there is no technology answer. Solar is on the verge of seeing improvement and we continue to invest in it.”
Currently, he said, “We spend about $4 billion on clean energy R&D. American’s spend more on potato chips. We should increase that by 20 percent a year until it’s double what we have.”
But, he said, quoting Al Gore, we may have only a very limited window to prevent climate disaster.
Asked about women in technology, he said, “It’s an important question. Set aside social justice. Just talk business. The data is clear. Diverse groups make better decisions. Diverse teams execute better. When your team reflects the society you are in, you will be successful sooner.”
He said the sooner we get to a “50-50” world “In a state, country, or as entrepreneurs, the better we are going to be. Today, a pathetic six percent of venture capitalists are female. It’s 25 percent in my firm, but that’s still not enough. A third of the CEOs I work with are female founders. That’s not good enough. If you don’t count the fouders, 50 percent of the Google board are female. That’s not good enough.”
Finally, near the end of his discussion on stage, he said, “I love North Carolina. My daughter moved here. I love the people, the climate, the great universities, the culture, the entrepreneurial spirit. But you have to get your state legislature more functional. Get a functional democracy here and see what happens.”