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Kleiner Perkins weighing fund targeting the cloud

By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Top venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is considering creating a specialized fund that focuses on cloud-based technologies.

"We're big believers in the cloud," Kleiner's Matt Murphy told Reuters on Thursday evening.

Murphy runs Kleiner's iFund, a vehicle that focuses on companies that build businesses around Apple Inc's iPhone and related products. Launched in 2008 with $100 million, the fund was later doubled to $200 million.

Cloud computing uses Internet based data storage to cut costs and improve reliability for companies and, increasingly, individuals. It has become a buzzword in Silicon Valley, with thousands of entrepreneurs striving to come up with business plans that tap into some aspect of the burgeoning technology.

But before Kleiner jumps in with a dedicated fund for the cloud, it has to identify "an unmet need" where it can provide expertise, Murphy said.

The iFund already invests in the cloud through bets on ventures such as Mountain View, Calif.-based Egnyte, a cloud-based file-storage company. Kleiner led a $10 million investment in Egnyte earlier this year.

Last year, Kleiner announced a $250 million sFund to focus on social media run by partner Bing Gordon.

Kleiner does not feel any sense of urgency about deciding whether or when to go ahead with the fund, Murphy said.

With the iFund and the sFund, "there was a unique moment in time where we wanted to plant our flag," he said.

But with cloud computing still in its early stages, the firm does not feel that pressure, he added.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; editing by Andre Grenon)

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