Google's plans to invest more money into startups with VC arm
In mid-2005, Google began experimenting with venture capital investments in startup companies. Now, over three years later, the Wall Street Journal reports the search company has plans to start an arm dedicated only to this kind of investment.
Google's earliest investments were in startups providing unique solutions for connectivity. In July 2005, the company joined Hearst and Goldman Sachs in a $100 million investment in Current Communications, a group working on providing broadband connections over power lines. In 2006, Google invested in Wi-Fi startups FON and Meraki, which both aimed to provide wireless access to communities based upon affordable shared routers -- sort of organically creating a Muni Wi-Fi network.
In early 2007, the Mountain View, Calif. search titan invested undisclosed amounts into small venture firms Seedfund and Erasmic in India.
Corporate entities providing venture capital have a reputation for being fickle, dishing out money in good times and cutting support during the bad. At the turn of the millenium, it was common fortechnology, media, and telecom companies to have investment divisions, but most did not endure.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google's plans to begin a venture capital arm will be set up by entrepreneur William Maris, who worked on launching a socially-conscious medical company called Catalytic Health with health care analyst Anne Wojcicki. This connection is important, as Wojcicki is the wife of Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder.
The venture capital arm will reportedly be headed by Google's senior vice president of corporate development and chiel legal officer David Drummond. The types of investments the group will focus on is currently undisclosed, but all factors intimate a philanthropic or humanitarian ideal.