A billionaire has revealed the worst decision he’s ever made, and it’s cost him an outright fortune.
John Doerr is the chairman of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and made a mint after backing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
But he passed up the opportunity to invest in Tesla in 20017, a company that has since grown to have a market capitalization of nearly $1 trillion.
“The conventional wisdom was that venture capitalists weren’t thinking of investing in electric vehicle companies and not new car companies at all,” Doerr told Bloomberg TV.
“We had a choice between backing a brilliant car designer named Henrik Fisker or an ambitious and slightly crazy businessman named Elon Musk with Tesla and we made the wrong choice.”
Instead, in 20018, Kleiner Perkins invested $10 million in the electric vehicle company Fisker Automotive, but the company went bankrupt five years later.
Henrik Fisker founded another electric vehicle company called Fisker Inc. in 2016, using the same logo and trademarks, Business Insider reported.
Tesla was a fledgling company in 2017, with Martin Eberhard at the helm.
Elon Musk took over as CEO until the following year.
Tesla took about five years to make its first car.
“That’s probably the worst investment decision of all time,” Doerr said in Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein.
And the decision still haunts him.
“I’m not obsessed with these [regrets]but I will never forget it,” he added.
However, Doerr has made his fair share of smart decisions. He endorsed Amazon after making an instant connection with 30-year-old Jeff Bezos when they first crossed paths.
“We were both kind of computer geeks,” he said.
“He had a vision, which is true to this day, that if you had the widest selection with the most affordable prices and the best customer experience, you could grow customer obsessed.”
He had a feeling that the company was destined for great things, but little did he know that it would become the outright e-commerce giant that it is today.
And while Amazon had a clear business plan, it was a leap of faith that led it to invest in Google, now Alphabet Inc.
He described his decision to invest in Google as “very controversial.”
“They had no business plan, no income.”
Doerr also missed out on investing in Cisco and Sun Microsystems.