Google Ventures: From the Garage to Global Relevance

The New Google Ventures Fund Is Good News for Clean Tech Startups


Google is once again leading the pack, now trying its hand at VC-style investing. The search engine giant has announced it will apply its considerable resources to build innovative new business ideas through its new technology investment fund, Google Ventures. The fund is looking for entrepreneurs who are tackling problems in “creative and innovative” ways, and will target early-stage firms in the clean technology, consumer internet services, biotechnology, and healthcare sectors.
The new Venture arm expands Google’s commitment to clean tech, and follows a series of investments in various low-carbon projects by its philanthropic arm’s clean energy investments have been primarily in the area of renewable energy and technologies that will enable widespread commercialization of plug-in electric vehicles. The new Google Venture fund will take a broader approach with the initial mission of “building great companies and generating long term financial return.” Also unlike’s philanthropic investing, the new venture fund will look for significant financial returns from its portfolio companies.

No Purchase Necessary
Google Ventures will invest amounts ranging from seed funding to tens of millions of dollars, and anywhere from seed to mezzanine stage, depending on the stage of the opportunity and the company’s need for capital. To maximize value and the impact of their investments, Google Ventures is planning to take an active role working with the management teams of their portfolio companies. They will also consider co-investing with other venture and strategic partners.
Investment decisions will be independent of a company’s relationship with Google. Involvement and support from Google will not require any strategic placement of Google products or parallel commercial agreements. Nor is acquisition of portfolio companies the goal of the new fund, although acquisition will not be ruled out.
Looking for the Next Big Thing
In a recent post on the Official Google Blog, Rich Miner and Bill Maris, the managing partners at Google Ventures, commented:

This is Google’s effort to take advantage of our resources to support innovation and encourage promising new technology companies. By borrowing the best practices of top-tier, financially focused venture capital firms and bringing to bear Google’s unique technical expertise and brand, we think we can find young companies with truly awesome potential and encourage their development into successful businesses.

The venture fund will rely heavily on the company’s current staff of “entrepreneurs, investors and innovators, along with some 20,000+ exceptional Googlers whose breadth of knowledge, experience and creativity constitute perhaps our own most valuable resource. Our fellow Googlers [are] a critically important resource to help educate us about potential investments areas and evaluate specific companies.”
Economic meltdown aside, Miner and Maris believe “great ideas come when they will. If anything, we think the current downturn is an ideal time to invest in nascent companies that have the chance to be the ‚Äònext big thing’, and we’ll be working hard to find them.”
Clean Tech Entrepreneurs: Send Your Ideas to Google Ventures
Interested in having your Venture funded? Ready for that rocket ride from the garage to global relevance? Google is asking interested entrepreneurs to develop a proposal of no more than 20 slides or three type-written pages. Send your proposals to Good luck!

Jim Witkin is a writer and researcher based in Silicon Valley focused on business, technology and the environment. His work has been featured in the New York Times and Guardian newspapers on topics that include: sustainable business practices, clean tech, the environment and next generation transportation technologies. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. Contact him at

3 responses

Leave a Reply