Google has launched the much-talked Google Ventures, it’s VC arm charged with finding and helping to develop exceptional start-ups.
At its core, Google Ventures is charged with finding and helping to develop exceptional start-ups. We’ll be focusing on early stage investments across a diverse range of industries, including consumer Internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care and, no doubt, other areas we haven’t thought of yet. Central to our effort will be our fellow Googlers, whom we view as a critically important resource to help educate us about potential investments areas and evaluate specific companies. blog
Google Ventures answers some of the obvious questions on their FAQ page:
Is Google Ventures simply a strategic vehicle to make future acquisitions easier?
No, it isn’t. Acquisitions by Google of portfolio companies are possible, but this is not the goal or focus of our investment activities. Our focus is building great companies and generating long term financial return.
Will you require your portfolio companies to use Google products?
No. We will, of course, provide whatever support is necessary to help our portfolio companies grow, but this support won’t necessarily involve any strategic placement of Google products or parallel commercial agreements.
While this seems to be a great initiative (especially in recession time), do you think startups (like Twitter in it’s early days) would take Google as an ally?
Corporate VC Funds – But Google is Different
Corporate VC funds in US (esp. companies like IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, SAP, Motorola,Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, Disney, Sony etc), have played an important role in making of Silicon Valley by engendering and nurturing innovative startups.
But the difference between these corporates vs.Google is Google’s nimbleness (and the fire within) – they have launched products which have challenged gaming startups (Lively) to mobile startups (Google’s SMS channel– a direct threat to MyToday kind of service) etc; and of course their BHAG – Google office suite which is a direct/indirect threat to startups in enterprise collaboration space.
Consumer space, unlike enterprise is quite dynamic and the bets are quite high (as we see from Twitter’s extraordinary growth) – so would a real kickass startup really want to get close to it’s ‘could-be-the-biggest-threat’?
Also, Google doesn’t discloses products/services it’s working on (do you know what will they announce tomorrow?)– so will Google Ventures will be really that independent to not look at competitive offering (and take away some ideas)?
And what about startup dilemma of who, when and what to share?
Given all this, would you (as a consumer focused startup), apply for Google Ventures (assuming they start India operations)? Do share your opinion.
Also see: Microsoft BizSpark Program in India
Recommended Read: Outlook for Indian Corporate Venture Capital