Google is forming a $100 million fund to invest in early-stage start-up firms.The fund is to be called Google Ventures. Google Ventures will be wholly owned by Google, but will operate as a separate entity and will seek investment opportunities to maximize returns rather than looking for investments that strictly fit with Google’s strategic vision.
Rich Miner, a co-founder of Android smart phone software that Google acquired in 2005, and Bill Maris are the fund’s two managing partners.
Miner said on Monday that Google Ventures will look at a wide variety of companies to invest in, including consumer Internet products, information technology, health care and biotech, among other areas.
Google has invested in other companies in the past through its philanthropic division, Google.org. While Google.org may continue to make investments from time to time, Maris said that Google Ventures will now function as Google’s “primary vehicle” for making venture-style investments.
Several high-tech companies have in-house venture capital arms, including Intel and Motorola, But Maris said that Google Ventures will have more in common with traditional venture capital firms.