The relationship between technology companies and the government is complicated, to say the least. Ted Schlein, a 17-year veteran of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he is a general partner, is one of the men in the middle.
Technology companies’ distrust of government agencies seeking data about consumers for national security runs high. At the same time, technology companies are jockeying for lucrative government contracts, particularly as their consumer businesses mature.
Mr. Schlein got his start in the security business at Symantec, where he launched one of the first types of antivirus software. He has invested in dozens of cybersecurity companies over the past two decades, including threat-detection services Internet Security Systems and Mandiant. The 49-year-old also has his finger on the pulse of what technology the government is looking to buy and build as a board member of In-Q-Tel, the venture capital investment arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Information spoke with Mr. Schlein about cybersecurity dealmaking, a new business that farms out white hat hackers and why President Barack Obama avoided cybersecurity, an issue he has championed, in his recent State of the Union address. Edited excerpts: