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Mountain View’s Computer History Museum houses countless relics of the dawn of the digital age, from the first Apple personal computer to the giant Cray-1 Supercomputer, whose retro-chic style looks as if it’s straight out of the film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Next week, the collection of ancient circuit boards, cathode-ray tubes and semiconductors will be supplemented by a bit of living history when the museum hosts some of the fathers of Silicon Valley’s venture capital industry. Six prominent venture capitalists, whose investments helped create many of the products now on display in the museum, will hold court in a panel discussion dubbed “The Pioneers of Venture Capital.” Moderating the discussion will be Fenwick & West Chair Gordon Davidson, a longtime figure in the Valley’s VC scene himself. Davidson has worked with all of the panelists in some way over the years and says he expects a lively and insightful discussion from the group. “These are luminary figures who remain active after, in some cases, 40 years in business,” says Davidson. “They’ve been associated with the landmark companies in Silicon Valley and they all have interesting personal stories and some thoughtful reflections on what created the bubble, what the future of Silicon Valley will be in the post bubble.” The six include: William Draper III, managing director of Draper Richards; Thomas Perkins, co-founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Burton McMurtry, co-founder of Technology Venture Investors; Franklin “Pitch” Johnson, founder of Asset Management Co.; Donald Valentine, founder of Sequoia Capital; and Arthur Rock, the principal of Arthur Rock & Co. The panel discussion, part of the museum’s ongoing lecture series, will take place Monday night in the museum’s 300-seat auditorium. While admission is free, guests are required to register in advance due to the venue’s limited capacity. “We’re going to talk about history; how they all came to be venture capitalists,” says Davidson. “We’re going to talk about how venture capital has changed over the last four decades and how it’s remained the same.” These days, of course, the venture capital business, like the rest of the economy, is in a slump. But Davidson maintains that the event isn’t just a pulpit for old timers to wax nostalgic about the good old days. “One of the themes that I’m sure we’ll discuss is that it’s a good time for VCs to invest in small companies now, as it has been in other post-boom times,” says Davidson. “It’s easier to start companies.”

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