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Former Palm and Twitter Techie Mike Abbott Jumps From EIR at Benchmark to Kleiner Partner

Kleiner Perkins has nabbed former Twitter engineering head Mike Abbott, who left the social communications company less than two months ago to be an entrepreneur in residence at Benchmark Capital.

(Well, that didn’t last long, Mike, but maybe the food was better at 2750 Sand Hill Road than at 2480 Sand Hill Road.)

In an interview this morning, Abbott said that he hopes to stay a VC for 20 years (yipes!), since it allows him to work closely with a wide range of entrepreneurs and also get a broad view across a spectrum of businesses.

“I am really energized about what’s been happening in a lot of places like software,” he said. “From my experience, I think I bring a lot of differentiation for the companies Kleiner is invested in.”

And tech cred too. “We think engineers will be thrilled to have access to Mike and he’s a magnet for talent,” said Kleiner partner Ted Schlein, who compared him to all the comic-book heroes, The Avengers, in one person. “Mike is multi-faceted.”

Abbott was indeed a high-profile hire for Twitter a little over a year ago from Palm, where he served as head of its software and services, in charge of its webOS mobile platform.

He was brought in to provide a level of discipline and reliability to the Twitter communications platform and service, which had been plagued by persistent outages that made the Fail Whale infamous.

Abbott will focus on social, mobile and cloud investments at the well-known Silicon Valley venture firm while working on a team that includes high-profile players Mary Meeker and Bing Gordon.

Here’s the official press release:

Michael Abbott Joins Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as Partner

Engineering Leader to Help Social, Mobile and Cloud Entrepreneurs Build Teams and Ventures

MENLO PARK, Calif., December 1, 2011 – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) today announced that Mike Abbott, former vice president of engineering at Twitter, has joined the firm as a partner on its digital team. Abbott led the building of innovative, high-performance applications and services at Twitter, Palm and Microsoft. With a deep background in social and mobile applications and infrastructure, Mike is also an expert in enterprise infrastructure and cloud computing and “big data” businesses, having founded Composite Software, and advised Cloudera and Jawbone.

“I’m excited to join KPCB’s partners to build new ventures faster,” said Abbott. “The partner mix of founders, operators and investors is ideal for entrepreneurs racing to scale at this disruptive time.”

“Mike is an exceptional and well-respected leader with an outstanding track record shipping great products,” said Ted Schlein, partner, KPCB. “Mike’s deep expertise from Palm and Twitter will help social, mobile and cloud entrepreneurs win.”

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, said, “Mike is a huge engineering talent and will be a terrific asset to Kleiner’s technology companies. He was instrumental in helping us scale Twitter’s architecture to support incredible growth ̶ from 100 million daily Tweets in January 2011 to about 250 million daily tweets today.”

In less than a year and a half, Abbott grew the Twitter engineering team from 80 to more than 350 engineers in an intensely competitive recruiting market. Abbott’s team rebuilt and solidified Twitter’s infrastructure. Prior to joining Twitter in 2010, Abbott led the software development team at Palm that created HP/Palm’s next-generation webOS platform. Abbott was previously the general manager at Microsoft for .NET online services, which became Azure. Prior to that, he co-founded Passenger Inc. and founded Composite Software. Abbott has advised and invested in numerous software companies such as Cloudera, Hearsay Labs, Saynow and Jawbone.

Mike Abbott is just the third senior KPCB partner added in three years, joining Bing Gordon and Mary Meeker, each with exceptional records serving mobile, social and cloud entrepreneurs. KPCB’s digital team also bolstered its infrastructure expertise with the recent addition of Ray Bradford from Amazon Web Services, where he helped grow the company’s cloud database business.


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