Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has announced that Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, is joining the venture capital firm as a partner.
Since the 50-year-old Joy resigned back in 2003 as Sun’s chief scientist, there had been speculation about whether Joy would join or start another tech company. Kleiner Perkins, as it happens, was one of Sun’s original financial backers.
At Kleiner Perkins, Joy “will help entrepreneurs advance the Internet, develop wireless innovations, and find new ways of using large scale computing to solve the most difficult problems” according to the firm’s Web site.
Joy led Sun’s technical strategy from the founding of the company in 1982 until September 2003. While at Sun, Joy was a key designer of Sun technologies including Solaris, SPARC, chip architectures and pipelines, and Java. In 1995 he installed the first city-wide WiFi network.
Before co-founding Sun, Joy designed and wrote Berkeley UNIX – the first open source operating system with built-in TCP/IP, making it the backbone of the Internet. Joy’s many contributions were recognized in a Fortune cover story which called him the 'Edison of the Internet”, according to a Kleiner Perkins press release.
Investing since 1972, Kleiner Perkins closed its eleventh fund last February on $400 million. Around that time, the firm also announced personnel changes, saying that four of the firm’s six second-tier partners will ‘spend more time with family and on personal causes.’ The partners named in this regard are Kevin Compton, William Hearst, Vinod Khosla and Doug Mackenzie. The four still work exclusively with the new Kleiner Perkins fund on technology investing. One partner, Tom Jermoluk, elected to leave the firm to return to an operating role.
In 2003, Kleiner Perkins co-founder Eugene Perkins passed away aged 80.