Oral History of Thomas J. "Tom" Perkins

Interviewed by John Hollar on 2012-07-11 in San Francisco, California, X6219.2012

Thomas J. Perkins co-founded the legendary Silicon Valley venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB) with Eugene Kleiner in 1973 after a decade-long career at Hewlett-Packard. Together with his KPCB partners, Perkins led one of the most successful long-term venture investing strategies in the history of Silicon Valley. Two of the earliest venture investments that Perkins led-Tandem Computers and Genentech-went on to be game-changing developers of technology in the earliest days of system and high-performance computing. A number of oral histories of Perkins are available on the Internet, including a long interview done by the University of California at Berkeley. This three-hour oral history conducted in 2011 focuses on Perkins' upbringing, education, mentors, early professional experience at Hewlett-Packard and transition to venture investing. It also covers his investment philosophy and a number of personal stories of entrepreneurs with whom he had particularly close business relationships.

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