An interesting tidbit popped up this week in the San Jose Mercury News "Silicon Beat" page, which focuses on the doings of the Silicon Valley celebrities, venture capitalists. John Doerr, of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, is particularly well-regarded, and in a Q&A session with reporters, he revealed his big venture play for the future -- infrastructure for cities:
Lately, the firm has started prowling for energy deals, a departure from its traditional focus on information services and healthcare. “That’s a left turn, a new initiative for Kleiner,” he told the audience, made up mostly of other venture capitalists and investors. Most of Kleiner's investments in energy so far are still in stealth. Urbanization will be one of the biggest global trends between now and 2030, Doerr explained, citing several studies including one by the National Academy of Sciences. Asia, in particular, will be creating scores of huge cities, he said. They’ll need clean water, power and transportation.
The site seems to be down at the moment, but the above is the key quote. If anyone was wondering if a renewed focus on urban issues was just a fantasy of environmentalists and design geeks, attention from VCs should disabuse you of that notion.