In 1977, Frank Caufield and Brook Byers teamed with Eugene Kleiner and Tom Perkins to expand the venture capital firm founded in 1972 and create Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Referred to today as Kleiner Perkins, Frank helped the firm hone its approach to investing in entrepreneurs who were building innovative technology and life sciences companies. Some of his more notable investments included AOL, Caremark, Quantum Corporation, and Sybase. He served on the boards of these companies and others playing a key role in their success. After AOL merged with Time Warner in 2000, Frank continued on that board for many years and in 2004, he was elected as lead independent director, a position he retained until 2010. He was a former president of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists and the National Venture Capital Association. Frank was an active community philanthropist, supporting and serving on the boards of the Council for Foreign Relations, Child Abuse Prevention Society of San Francisco and the San Francisco Film Festival Society. He was also a former owner of Boz Scagg’s music club in San Francisco, Slim’s.
“Partnerships are mosaics of the individual partners and their diverse skill sets and personalities”, said Brook Byers, a co-founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “Frank had a special knack for instilling great people judgment and common sense into our analytical and sometimes geeky processes. He made us better with his wisdom and wit. A lunch or dinner with Frank was both a master class in business strategy and a lesson on how humor can bring out candor.”
We are grateful for Frank’s many contributions to our firm over the years. He will be sorely missed.