Thomas Perkins, Venture Capitalist Who Backed Amazon and Google, Dies at 84

The firm he co-founded help grow many Silicon Valley giants

Venture capitalist Thomas Perkins died on Tuesday at the age of 84.

Perkins, who co-founded the firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with engineer Eugene Kleiner in 1972, was one of the earliest players in the venture capital industry. The firm would go on to become an early investor in Silicon Valley companies such as AOL, Google, Amazon.

In 2014, Perkins was renounced by the firm after penning a scathing op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he compared the Occupy Wall Street movement to Nazi Germany. “I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich,'” he wrote.

“He defined what we know of today as entrepreneurial venture capital by going beyond just funding to helping entrepreneurs realize their visions with operating expertise,” Brook Byers and Frank Caufield of Kleiner Perkins said in a statement on Thursday. “Tom was our partner and friend, and we will miss him.”

Prior to his career in investing, Perkins worked at Hewlett-Packard, the company whose board he would later join in 2005. While serving at H.P., Perkins helped engineer the ousting of CEO Carly Fiorina, whose presidential campaign he supported last year.

Perkins is survived by his son Tor and daughter Elizabeth from his marriage to Gerd Thune-Ellefsen. His second wife was romance novelist Danielle Steel.