Mamoon Hamid, a longtime partner at U.S. Venture Partners who went on to co-found Social Capital with Chamath Palihapitiya in 2011, is reportedly moving on to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
According to Axios, Hamid will focus on early-stage tech investments, with a focus on enterprise software. A formal announcement is reportedly forthcoming.
We’ve reached out to Hamid, whose auto-responder states he is currently on paternity leave. But Palihapitiya calls it “a great opportunity for Mamoon” and says “we’re happy for him and Kleiner Perkins.”
He adds that Social Capital is “building a platform where people with potential can come, build a track record, do great and then try new things.”
The move is interesting for a wide variety of reasons, including, obviously, that Hamid isn’t simply a managing director with Social Capital. It isn’t every day that a venture firm co-founder breaks off to join someone else’s firm.
As Axios notes, too, this isn’t the first time that Social Capital’s world is colliding with that of Kleiner Perkins. Palihapitiya has said that in December 2014, Kleiner’s most famous investor, John Doerr, asked Palihapitiya if he might be interested in joining Kleiner to lead it. Palihapitiya told Fortune that Doerr said, “I want to talk about Kleiner 3.0.”
Palihapitiya declined. Meanwhile, Doerr stepped back from the day-to-day management of Kleiner last year, instead taking on the role of firm chairman.
Kleiner doesn’t seem to be faring much better at grooming a younger generation of VCs in the wake of that move. In the last week alone, general partner Mike Abbott announced that he was leaving to jump back into the world of startups. It was also revealed that a seed-stage initiative involving three young investors is being shut down and that all three are leaving the firm. Several weeks ago, another investor with Kleiner, Arielle Zuckerberg, also left Kleiner; she has told friends that she wants to travel for now.
Kleiner is today managed by Ted Schlein, a managing director who joined the firm nearly 21 years ago, following a decade at Symantec, where he was a vice president. Other than Doerr, Schlein is the most senior member of the firm.
Other VCs who have remained with the firm over time include Wen Hsieh, who joined Kleiner in 2006 and focuses on both opportunities in the U.S. and China; Beth Seidenberg, who joined Kleiner in 2005 and focuses on life sciences and digital health investing; and famed former investment banker Mary Meeker, who was heavily recruited by Doerr and joined the firm in 2010. She leads Kleiner’s growth team.
Kleiner’s newest departures represent the second wave of people to leave, following a string of others who jumped ship or were elbowed aside in the years before and after former investor Ellen Pao unsuccessfully sued the firm for gender discrimination.
Among those investors to leave during that period: Trae Vassallo, who has since co-founded Defy Ventures; Aileen Lee, who founded Cowboy Ventures; Megan Quinn, now a general partner with Spark Capital; Chi-Hua Chien, who has since co-founded Goodwater Capital; and Matt Murphy, who is now a managing director with Menlo Ventures.
Assuming Axios’s report is correct, Hamid’s first order of business will likely be to begin recruiting — and figuring out how to keep — young talent. Kleiner’s future seemingly depends on it more than ever.
Meanwhile, at Social Capital, Palihapitiya notes that while Hamid is leaving, the firm has more recently brought aboard a number of investors, including Marc Mezvinsky, Tony Bates and Phil Deutch, and he says it’s pushing even harder to “manage to our values, constantly improve our performance, and continue to bring in the best, credentialed talent possible.”
This is “our unequivocal ambition,” he adds.
Photo courtesy of SaaStr.