Haute 100 Update San Francisco: Vinod Khosla

Our Haute 100 list details the accomplishments of the most influential people in each of our markets—MiamiNew YorkLos Angeles, and San Francisco. These people continue to make moves, so rather than waiting for the next Haute 100 issue to come out, we thought we’d provide you with regular updates on those Haute 100 members who are making headlines. Check back daily for more info on the most powerful people in your city. As the green economy grows, Vinod Khosla continues to be a leading green tech investor and has recently made several notable actions with fellow Silicon Valley titans.

Vinod Khosla

Category: Entrepreneurs

Company: Khosla Ventures

Industry: Technology

What Made Him Haute: Silicon Valley’s preeminent eco investor—named No. 1 venture capitalist by both Fortune and Forbes—Khosla invested more than $300 million of his personal fortune into start-up green technologies. Khosla was formerly a general partner at Kleiner Perkins and founder of Sun Microsystems. He created venture capital firm Khosla Ventures in 2004 to build businesses for the Internet, and the computing, mobile, silicon, and green technology arenas. In 2009, he announced that the Khosla Fund, one of the largest green tech funds, had raised $1 billion, and in January, luminary Bill Gates became an investor.

What Makes Him Haute Now: Since April, Khosla has partnered up with some of the biggest names in the tech world and keeps pushing for developments in renewable-energy technology. Khosla’s firm, Khosla Ventures, and Bill Gates have invested $23.5 million into EcoMotors International, which is fielding a turbocharged gas engine that is said to improve fuel efficiency by 20 to 50 percent and reduce emissions at half the weight and size, and using fewer parts, than conventional engines. Khosla is a recent investor in TerraPower, a new nuclear fission design that just received $35 million in funding.

The venture capitalist who controls $1.3 billion worth of funds targeted at clean-tech enterprises, also extends his advocacy to education. Joining forces with Scott McNealy, Khosla’s old colleague and former CEO of Sun Microsystems, the duo is backing free, open source textbooks and educational materials. Khosla and his wife are putting their efforts into the CK-12 Foundation, developing core textbooks for high school that meet the California state board’s criteria.