Some of today's best business minds can be found in the world of venture capital.
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But unless you're a venture capital insider, it's hard to separate the major players from the rest of the field. Here's just a sampling of some of the biggest names you can expect to encounter.
No conversation about venture capital would be complete without mention of Tom Perkins, a legend in the field. After heading the research department at Hewlett-Packard in the 1960's, Perkins co-founded the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers in 1972.
Over the years, he has had a hand in the success of numerous marketplace heavyweights including Applied Materials, Compaq, Corning Glass, Genentech, Philips Electronics, and Tandem Computers. Despite his incredible success, Perkins may be best known for his role in uncovering possible ethics violations at Hewlett-Packard in 2006.
John Doerr is another venture capital legend. Specializing in the field of high-tech companies, Doerr has earned a reputation as the go-to guy when it comes to building businesses in computer-related fields. His successes include the likes of Netscape, Sun Microsystems, Lotus, Amazon, and Intuit. Like many venture capitalists, Doerr began his career as a tech executive (Doerr worked at Intel until 1980). He is known for his uncanny ability to manage a high volume of projects - and to do it effectively.
Even if you haven't heard of Bob Kagle, you've heard of his biggest deal: eBay. That alone would be enough to place him near the top of a "Who's Who" in venture capital. But in addition to his eBay success, Kagle's early commitment to several similar companies was responsible for starting the e-commerce trend that continues to reap profits today. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that Kagle's most profitable deal wasn't eBay. It was Ariba, a business-to-business e-commerce company.
Henry McCance is living proof that you don't have to live in Silicon Valley to be successful in software. Located on the east coast, McCance was into software long before it was on anyone else's radar. His risk paid off with successes like Tellabs and Epsilon now under his belt. In contrast to many venture capitalists, McCance maintains a low profile, often shunning the limelight to make room for younger partners and the CEOs of the companies he champions.
If you think the only reason Ann Winblad made this list is to serve as the token female, think again. With more than two decades experience to her credit, Winblad is a powerhouse among venture capitalists. In high school, she was both a cheerleader and class valedictorian, a combination of skills that would later serve her well in guiding companies like Wind River, Powersoft, Berkeley Systems, and Arbor Systems to success in the marketplace.