Google is forming a $100 million fund to invest in early-stage start-up firms. While fully owned by Google, Google Ventures will operate as a separate entity and will seek investment opportunities to maximize returns.
Google Ventures will look at a wide variety of companies to invest in, including information technology, health care and biotech, and consumer Internet products. Google Ventures has already invested in Silver Spring Networks, a company that uses technology to improve the efficiency of power grids.
Rich Miner and Bill Maris are the fund's two managing partners. "Just as we were founded by entrepreneurs, we think we can help some of those next entrepreneurs with the next great idea," said Miner. In the past, Google has invested in other companies through Google.org. Maris said that Google Ventures will now function as Google's "primary vehicle" for making venture-style investments.
Google Ventures will have more in common with traditional venture capital firms but the appeal of Google Ventures for start-up firms is the relationship to Google and its 20,000 employees. The fund will focus primarily on companies seeking early stage funding, and Google Ventures will have the ability to make investments ranging from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.