Eugene Kleiner, who founded two of the most influential companies in the history of the technology industry, has died at the age of 80.
Kleiner founded National Semiconductor in 1957 along with seven scientists and researchers, including Intel co-founders Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, to develop the transistor and integrated circuit they had studied under inventor William Shockley.
Kleiner and Hewlett-Packard veteran Tom Perkins later launched the seminal Silicon Valley venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers which, since its inception in 1972, has funded technology startups such as Sun Microsystems, Google, America Online and Amazon.com.
"Eugene Kleiner was a great pioneer of Silicon Valley who virtually invented modern venture capital. His contributions in finance and technology are enormous, and he will be sorely missed," Kleiner Perkins said in a statement.
Kleiner retired from the firm in the early 1980s, but had remained as a partner emeritus, according to Kleiner Perkins' website. He is survived by two children. His wife, Rose, died in 2001.
Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service