Photo: Google Ventures
Google Ventures is Google’s venture arm, but partner Bill Maris insists that it does not really work for Google.It does not make strategic investments for Google. Rather, it acts as an independent venture fund with one limited partner: Google.
Google contributes up to $200 million a year for Maris and his partners to invest, and they put that money into as many as 120 companies per year.
The only goal is to make money for Google. And themselves. “We get paid — or not paid — depending on the outcomes.”
So do they use any Google data to make their investments?
Not really, says partner Graham Spencer. They’re simply trying to take Google’s expertise in areas like machine learning and data analysis and apply it to the VC business. “We wanted to apply all these heuristics and rules of thumb that VCs already used and see if they could be turned into something quantitative.”
So when Google Ventures invests $15 million in DNAnexus, which is hosting the largest public store of information about the human genome (DNA) after the US government cut funding for that project, and DNAnexus turns around and chooses Google to host that data, don’t look for conspiracies. Google won’t get access to that data — and even if they could, it’s all anonymized anyway.
Maris and Spencer spoke for 10 minutes today at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.