PA Gov Corbett Meets with Kleiner Perkins at Pittsburgh Silicon Valley Mission

From left to right: Gov. Tom Corbett, Audrey Russo, former PA Gov. Mark Schweiker, John Doerr and Ray Lane

How many times in your life will you be in the same room with the world’s most successful VCs that have been behind such tech powerhouses as Google, Amazon, Juniper and Intuit?

As part of the Pittsburgh Silicon Valley Business Mission, I just got out of a meeting with Kleiner Perkins’ top partners, including John Doerr, Ray Lane, Dana Meade and Chi-Hua Chien along with PA Gov. Tom Corbett, Carnegie Mellon University Provost Mark Kamlet and PTC President Audrey Russo.

The meeting kicked off with a quick overview of Kleiner. They’ve been around for 40 years providing the capital to fuel some of the world’s top tech companies.

The firm is currently focused in three areas: Digital, Life Sciences and Green Technology. It particularly likes where industries intersect. Think Big Data and mobile or IT and life sciences.

Pittsburgh-based Aquion is a Kleiner portfolio company ramping manufacturing capacity it Westmoreland County to produce its revolutionary batteries. Corbett’s attention was peaked and sent into overdrive as Kleiner talked about portfolio company Bloom Energy, which makes solid oxide fuel cells using natural gas.

To create a more prolific tech sector across Pennsylvania, the Kleiner crew suggested creating statewide innovation awards for technology and innovation. These awards could put non-dilutative money into companies that grow, hire and innovate in the commonwealth. Retaining talent is critical if PA is to grow its tech sectors, according to the partners.

“Don’t try to create Silicon Valley,” said Lane. “Keep the butterflies from leaving.”

Doerr put it even more aptly when he said, “You have to bear hug these entrepreneurs.”

Listen to a podcast with Corbett straight from Silicon Valley.

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