VC firm to announce $100 million 'Java Fund'
Ten major IT players put their financial weight behind Java; Active Software,
Marimba among companies to be funded
JavaWorld exclusive by Jill Steinberg
In the next two weeks, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers (KPCB), a
leading venture capital firm focused on technology companies and located in
Menlo Park, CA, will announce that it has established a "Java Fund" worth $100
million, sources told JavaWorld. As many as ten major hi-tech companies,
including Cisco Systems, Compaq Computer, IBM, Netscape Communications,
Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), are contributing
to the fund.
Sources say two companies have already benefited from KPCB's new Java Fund:
Active Software and Marimba.
Active Software, a Mountain View, CA-based company, provides
software-oriented communications systems that connect Java applets with
databases and will evolve to connect Java with database applications, ActiveX,
and other enterprise information sources. On July 1, Active Software
introduced ActiveWeb, an application development tool that combines the
features of an enterprise-class development tool with comprehensive Web
application development functions.
Marimba, the Palo Alto, CA-based company formed by four former JavaSoft
employees Kim Polese, Jonathan Payne, Arthur van Hoff, and Sami Shaio,
referred to the VC firm in the Announcements section of its home page. The
sentence read "Marimba is funded by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers," with
a link to KPCB's Web site, which was not accepting connections at the time of
In a phone conversation August 9, JavaWorld asked Polese to comment on the
Web-site reference to KPCB. "You caught me by surprise," said Polese,
admitting that she was unaware of this addition to Marimba's home page. She
cut the conversation short to look into the matter. The KPCB reference
disappeared shortly thereafter, and Polese declined to discuss the Java Fund.
For those in the Java community, news of the Java Fund is expected to stir up
a lot of excitement. The creation of the fund represents "a big stamp of
endorsement" for Java and a huge opportunity for the Java marketplace, said a
source familiar with the fund who requested anonymity.
"We think Java's the next billion dollar industry. And this kind of fund
would be proof that the rest of the industry thinks so too," said an industry
The somewhat eclectic group of companies financing the Java Fund -- ranging
from Microsoft bashers to PC hardware makers and a major cable company --
apparently seeks to both enhance Java's legitimacy and promote its success.
The VC strategy contrasts with the more traditional (and often
less-than-successful) model of multi-vendor consortiums designed to promote
particular technologies, such as the Unix operating system.
Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers, which would not comment on the
development, plans to make a public announcement of the Java Fund in the next