Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers announced a new initiative today to invest in social application and service entrepreneurs. With $250, sFund will provide “financing, councel, and relationship capital” from partners Amazon.com, Facebook, Zynga, Comcast and Liberty Media and Allen & Company, LLC. They are all bringing something to the entrepreneur support package - Amazon Web Services support, Facebook platform team access, Zynga development sessions, and Comcast Interactive Capital resources.
The participating companies are committed to fostering the development of this category. “There’s never been a better time than now to start a new social venture,” says KPCB parner John Deurr. According to KPCB’s press release, the Internet is moving to a new era of people and places rather than documents and Web sites. Social is the area of growth that all participants should have a strategy for.
Since social apps are viral, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos points out, success happens suddenly and explosively. This is why his company’s product Amazon Web Services has played a big part in the social app scene - three of the largest Facebook app developers use the scalable AWS platform. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is interested in enabling companies that can “disrupt their industries,” since any app, site or device can be “designed to be social from the ground up.” Zynga’s Mark Pincus adds that his company’s successes (Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc.) leverages customers’ desire to interact with their friends in new ways.
Beyond the Web-based companies, media also plans to get involved with social businesses. Comcast predicts the category to play a bigger role in their entertainment and communications products in the future.
KPCB has been involved with social ventures in the past, most recently social graph app developer Cafébots, iPad social magazine Flipboard, social enterprise software developer Jive, and social commerce platform Lockerz.