Terralliance Technologies blows up on Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs


When Kleiner Perkins and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) both make large investments in a start-up, you might be inclined to think it's a good bet. Perhaps not a Google (Google news), but at least a solid company. But a former NASA scientist and semiconductor industry executive named Erlend Olson proved that thesis wrong in a big way.

Fortune offers an entertaining story of how he created a firm called Terralliance Technologies, a startup in Newport Beach, Calif., that had developed an algorithm for telling petroleum engineers where to drill. But Olsen turned out to be something of a big spender and too big a personality for his VC (venture capital news) investors.

Fortune says it's still "not clear what exactly Terralliance's technology purported to do, or how well its investors understood it." The board of Terralliance Technologies eventually fired him as CEO, demoting him to chief scientist. Some investors asked for their money back, and Kleiner Perkins swooped into damage-control mode. After Olson left, Terralliance Technologies wanted to sue him for misappropriation of trade secrets, but they couldn't find him to serve papers. 

For more:
- here's the article

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