Vinod Khosla

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Vinod Khosla
Vinod Khosla, Web 2.0 Conference.jpg
Born (1955-01-28) 28 January 1955 (age 59)
Delhi, India
Alma mater IIT Delhi
Carnegie Mellon University
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Occupation Venture capitalist, Khosla Ventures
Net worth $1.5 billion (2013)[1]
Spouse(s) Neeru Khosla
Children Nina, Anu, Vani and Neal

Vinod Khosla (Gurmukhi: ਵਿਨੋਦ ਖੋਸਲਾ) (born 28 January 1955) is an Indian-American businessman[2] and venture capitalist. Khosla was one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems that is known for creating Java (programming language) and Network File System (NFS) , and served as its first CEO and Chairman in the early 1980s. In 1986, he became a general partner of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he remained through the early 2000s. In 2004 Khosla formed his own firm, Khosla Ventures, which focused on venture investments in various technology sectors, most notably clean technology.

He is a strong supporter of clean technology and said "If it doesn't scale, it doesn't matter. Most of what we talk about today—hybrid, biodiesel, ethanol, solar photovoltaics, geothermal—I believe are irrelevant to the scale of the problem."[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Khosla's father was an officer in the Indian Army and was posted at New Delhi, India.[4][5]

Khosla read about the founding of Intel in Electronic Engineering Times at the age of fourteen and this inspired him to pursue technology as a career. He went on to receive multiple degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), India (Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering), Carnegie Mellon University (Masters in Biomedical Engineering), and Stanford Graduate School of Business (MBA).[6]


After graduating from Stanford University in 1980, Khosla worked for electronic design automation company Daisy Systems. Then in 1982, Khosla co-founded Sun Microsystems (SUN is the acronym for the Stanford University Network), along with Stanford classmates Scott McNealy, Andy Bechtolsheim, and UC Berkeley computer science graduate student Bill Joy. Khosla served as the first chairman and CEO of Sun Microsystems from 1982 to 1984, when he left the company to become a venture capitalist.

In 1987, Khosla joined the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a general partner. At Kleiner, Khosla became a recognized venture capitalist, with several successful early stage investments. Khosla also played a key role with several of the tech industry's most spectacular failures, including Asera, Dynabook, BroadBand Office, Excite@Home, and many others.[citation needed]

He also invested in an Indian microfinance company, SKS Microfinance, which lends small loans to poor women in rural India. Khosla is also one of the founders of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, and has guest-edited a special issue of The Economic Times (ET), a leading business newspaper in India.

Khosla was featured on Dateline NBC in May 2006, where he discussed the practicality of ethanol as a gasoline substitute.[7] He is known to have invested heavily in ethanol companies, in hopes of widespread adoption. He cites Brazil as an example of a country that has ended its dependence on foreign oil.[8]

Khosla was a major proponent of the "Yes on 87" campaign to pass California's Proposition 87, The Clean Energy Initiative, which failed to pass in November 2006.

In 2006, Khosla's wife Neeru co-founded the CK-12 Foundation, which aims to develop open source textbooks and lower the cost of education in America and the rest of the world. Khosla and his wife are also donors to the Wikimedia Foundation, in the amount of $500,000.[9]

Khosla Ventures[edit]

Khosla formed his own venture capital firm, Khosla Ventures in 2004. The firm is based in Menlo Park, California,[10] and manages approximately $1 billion of investor capital as well as investments funded by Khosla himself.[11]

In September 2009, Khosla completed fundraising for two new funds, to invest in cleantech and information technology start-ups. Khosla Ventures III secured $750 million of investor commitments to invest in traditional early stage and growth stage companies. Khosla also raised $250 million for Khosla Seed, which will invest in higher-risk opportunities.

In May 2010 it was announced that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was to join Khosla Ventures to provide strategic advice regarding investments in technologies focused on the environment.[12]

Other accomplishments and affiliations[edit]

In addition to his role in founding Sun Microsystems, Khosla has founded a number of other businesses and organizations. Khosla was also involved with the founding of Daisy Systems in 1981.[6] He is also one of the founders of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, and has guest-edited a special issue of Economic Times (ET), a leading business newspaper in India.[citation needed]

Khosla was a finalist for the 1999 World Technology Award and served as the Honorary Chair of the DonorsChoose San Francisco Bay Area Advisory Board.[citation needed] In addition, Khosla is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley.[13] The Center is focused on finding solutions to address the crisis of extreme poverty and disease in the developing world.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Khosla is engaged in a legal defense of his private property rights at Martin's Beach, several miles south of Half Moon Bay, California.[15] Martin's Beach was previously a popular family beach and surf spot before Khosla purchased the property adjacent to the beach and blocked access. The previous owners of the land had allowed the public to access the beach. Khosla won a minor victory in October 2013, which is expected to be appealed, when Judge Gerald Buchwald concluded that Khosla's property is not subject to aspects of the California Constitution, because it was originally a rancho that predated the State.[16] The Surfrider Foundation has filed a second lawsuit against Khosla for violations of the California Coastal Act. This suit was expected to be heard in early March 2014.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Forbes 400 #352 Vinod Khosla". Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  2. ^ Vinod Khosla worked in company JUNIPER NETWORKS, INC. as Venture capitalist.
  3. ^ "Khosla: Crazy clean-tech ideas yield breakthroughs". CNET. September 24, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Vinod Khosla Biography". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  5. ^ "Vinod Khosla Biography". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  6. ^ a b Bhide, Amar V. (December 14, 1989), Vinod Khosla and Sun Microsystems (A), Harvard Business Publishing 
  7. ^ A simple solution to pain at the pump?. Dateline NBC, May 7, 2006
  8. ^ Venture capitalist a techie at heart October 15, 2006
  9. ^ Cadelago, Chris (August 24, 2008). "Wikimedia pegs future on education, not profit". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  10. ^ Khosla Ventures (company website)
  11. ^ The Economist, "Brain scan: Betting on green", 12 March 2011, pp. 22–23.
  12. ^ Khosla Ventures piles up $1 billion for green tech. CNET News, September 1, 2009
  13. ^ "Trustees of the Blum Center for Developing Economies". 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Romney, Lee (October 25, 2013). "Venture capitalist wins round in fight to block public beach access". Los Angeles Times. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
CEO of Sun Microsystems
Succeeded by
Scott McNealy
Preceded by
Chairman of Sun Microsystems
Succeeded by
Scott McNealy