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Colin Powell Joins VC Ranks

One of Silicon Valley's best known venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), added more star power to its lineup of partners with the announcement that former Secretary of State Colin Powell has become a strategic limited partner in the firm.

KPCB has backed over 450 ventures, including such big names as Amazon , Google and Sun Microsystems .

"It's terrific that Colin Powell is aligning with KPCB, the preeminent venture capital firm," said Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, said in a statement. "He understands technology, leadership and global markets, and will provide invaluable assistance to KPCB and its portfolio companies."

Powell currently serves on Revolution, a new venture Case started in the consumer health field. In a company release, Powell said he's known KPCB entrepreneurs and partners for years.

"Those entrepreneurs have passion for clear missions -- building innovative, global businesses that better the world," said Powell. "I welcome the opportunity to help develop global leaders who deliver powerful innovation where we need it most."

KPCB partner John Doerr described Powell as a gifted, "always-on' communicator who loves technology."

Powell may want to lean on his son Michael's expertise for advise in some areas of technology investment. The younger Powell finished a controversial four year tenure as head of the Federal Communications Commission in March.

Another KPCB partner, Brook Byers, forecast an expansive if not lofty set of projects for the former army feneral.

"We will work together to help social and tech entrepreneurs innovate across the planet," said Byers, "whether helping a venture 'go global' or bringing micro-credit and health care to remote communities in Africa."

KPCB has had a number of high profile appointments this year. The venture company also lured Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy, former Guidant executive Dana Mead, and Randy Komisar who has served as a "virtual CEO" for a several companies, including TiVo, WebTV, and Claris. All three joined as partners at KPCB.

Powell, 68, was sworn in as the 65th Secretary of State in 2001 after unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate. He served in the military for 35 years, and became a four-star general. His last assignment, from October 1989 to September 1993, was as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.