Bill Maris, the man in charge of Google’s venture capital wing Google Ventures, says there is “deep insecurity” in European technology that leads companies to think they’re “not good enough.”
Maris spoke to TechCrunch’s Silicon Valley editor Connie Loizos on Thursday night and was asked about the decision to shut down Google Ventures’ separate fund for investing in European technology companies.
Maris claimed the European fund wasn’t shut down, it was just merged with the main fund. “We still have partners there,” he said.
However, there are only two partners remaining at Google Ventures in Europe: Tom Hulme and Avid Larizadeh Duggan.
Peter Read left in July, Google shut down its dedicated European VC fund in December, and veteran Google employee Eze Vidra left on Christmas Day. The other person who launched the European fund in 2014, M.G. Siegler, has since returned to work for Google Ventures in the US.
Business Insider reported in August there were disagreements within the Google Ventures team in London. That may have been the cause of a year of silence in which the fund only invested in music publishing company Kobalt. Other investors in London were left baffled by Google Ventures’ inactivity, which may have been due to a reliance on its investment algorithm.
Google Ventures uses an algorithm that gathers information about a company and its industry in order to help its partners figure out whether to invest in it. Maris told Loizos that “we’re looking at the market and at economic indicators and the funding environment and who has gotten funded and it’s just one input into the decision-making process.”
During the interview with Loizos, Maris said there’s “insecurity” in European technology:
There’s some insecurity in Europe that I don’t understand, about: We’re not good enough. That’s not the reality. There are great companies and entrepreneurs there and I’m happy with what’s happening.
There’s no sign that Google Ventures is going to stop investing in European technology companies, either. Maris said that there have been eight investments in Europe, with six already announced and two more that will become public soon.
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