If you had to guess which member of the famous Powell family (Colin or Michael) would join famed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, you probably would have picked Michael -- the former FCC chief and well known gadget lover (he called TiVo "God's Machine"). Instead, though, the news is spreading quickly that it's former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell who will be joining Kleiner Perkins... except, that's not really what's happening at all. He's not a general partner. He's a limited partner (read: investor). There are plenty of well known limited partners in all sorts of venture capital funds, but they don't get tons of press coverage. The difference here is that KP has convinced Powell, now that he's got some free time on his hands, to be a bit more involved than a typical limited partner. He's a "strategic limited partner," which basically means that KP will call on him to give talks at various startups or provide insights into the state of the world. It's a great move for KP, obviously, but it doesn't quite reach the level of saying that Powell has "joined" Kleiner Perkins -- as that implies the more typical role of a general partner.
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