Frank Caufield

Gave the Caufield Crew and Sailing Center, Honorring his Father, General Frank J. Caufield Class of 1934  Attended Harvard and began a very successful Financial Career – Oak Grove Ventures 1971 and in 1978 Kleiver, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

Frank Joseph Caufield was born on November 21, 1939 to Captain Frank J. and Mrs. Catherine Lallande Caufield at Fort Benning, GA. Frank’s father was a member of the Class of 1934. Frank grew up as an Army brat on posts in the United States and in foreign assignments in Spain and England. His father’s assignment in Spain from 1947 to 1950 was pivotal in Frank’s life; he developed a deep knowledge of Spanish culture and became fluent in Spanish. Later, his father served with the Military Assistance Group in London in the early 1950s. Frank was sent to a British boarding school where he was exposed to British humor and the rigors of boarding school discipline, two traits that would serve him well throughout his life.

Frank, at his father’s urging, obtained an appointment to West Point, where he joined the Class of 1962. At the end of Beast, Frank was assigned to Company F-1. Frank said that the four years he spent in F-1 forged friendships that lasted for his lifetime.

After graduation in 1962, Frank was assigned to an Air Defense Artillery battalion in Germany. Frank transferred to Military Intelligence and was assigned as head of the U.S. section of a multi­national center for the debriefing of East European refugees arriving in West Germany. This assignment gave Frank an in-depth understanding of the political, social and economic conditions in Eastern Europe.

In 1966, Frank resigned his commission and was admitted to Harvard Business School (HBS). By that time, Frank was married to Ronnie Morseth, a woman he met while stationed in Germany. Shortly before he started HBS in the fall of 1966, their first child, Frank Robert, was born. During his second year at HBS, their second child, Kirsten Nicole, was born. Frank said, “Getting through a demanding academic program and having two young children involved lots of learning, friendships and a hopeful future.”

After graduation from HBS in 1968, he took a job with a management consulting firm in New York City. During his second year in New York, Frank decided to get into the venture capital business. The field barely existed at that time and was principally located in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1970, he transferred to the firm’s San Francisco office and began looking for a venture capital job.

In 1972, Frank got a fortuitous call from an F-1 classmate, Dave Francis, who alerted him to an ad in the Wall Street Journal placed by Paul Cook, a legendary investor. The ad said that Cook, the CEO of a hi-tech company called Raychem, was looking for a financial manager. Later, Cook established a venture capital firm (Oak Grove Ventures) that Frank would run.

In 1978, with several years as a successful investment manager under his belt, Frank was asked to join what would become the world’s premier venture capital firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers (KPCB). Frank helped the firm perfect its approach to investing in entrepreneurs who were building innovative technology and life sciences companies.

Over the next 20 years, KPCB was, by general agreement, the most successful venture capital firm in the country. One of the high points of this period was in the mid-1980s when Frank and classmate Jim Kimsey combined to start AOL.

Frank served on the boards of numerous companies and always played a key role in their success. After AOL merged with Time Warner in 2000, Frank continued on that board for many years.

In the late 1990s, Frank began to pull back from venture capital to pursue other things he wanted to do. He phased out of KPCB but kept on making venture investments on his own, and he began to devote more time to philanthropy and public and foreign policy issues. It also gave him time to take many trips with his classmate and former roommate from F-1, Buzz Kriesel. They travelled extensively for the next 15 years, to India, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Costa Rica, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and Southern Italy.

Frank’s many philanthropic activities included Chairman of the Child Abuse Prevention Society, Director of the U.S. Russia Investment Fund (the U.S. Russia Foundation), Refugees International, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the San Francisco Film Society.

In addition to his venture activities, Frank was the former owner of Slim’s, a San Francisco club that he started with musician Boz Scaggs. He also worked with Scaggs and investor Warren Hellman to preserve San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall.

In May of 2002, Frank donated the Caufield Crew and Sailing Center at West Point to honor the memory of his father, Brigadier General Frank J. Caufield (Retired), Class of 1934. The Caufield Center is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with rowing tanks, a weight room, two locker rooms with showers and boat maintenance bays.

The West Point Class of 1962 has been blessed by some remarkably accomplished graduates. Frank Caufield, an entrepreneur who defined venture capital and American enterprise, is ranked with these distinguished graduates. His exceptional character and remarkable accomplishments make him one of West Point’s most distinguished graduates. He embodied and lived by West Point motto: Duty, Honor, Country

Frank is survived by his son, Frank Robert Caufield, and his daughter, Kirsten Nicole Caufield. Well Done, Frank Caufield; Be Thou at Peace.

—His F-1 classmates  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s