After almost a year of speculation, Google revealed the plans for its VC arm yesterday. The site holds a nice FAQ section, but a couple of questions remain unanswered. VC Perspectives help you understand:
Are superior financial returns the ultimate goal for Google Ventures?
No. In fact it is unlikely that our portfolio will provide better returns than our VC colleagues, given that neither selection nor quality of post-investment value-add are superior to that of our competitors and potential co-investors. Neither is it likely that 100 M invested in “the-next-big-thing” start-ups over the first 12 months will provide shareholder value comparable to that coming from growing our main lines of business.
Aha. So the overriding objective of your investment activities is strategic?
No. If that had been the case, we would have limited our scope of investment to businesses we understand and which Google can benefit from growing. And unlike the few successful corporate VCs out there, we aren’t really relying on the opinion of the commercial and technological experts in our various business units to assess the potential investments. We invest across all types of markets, also those completely unrelated to Google’s current or future business.
OK. So if it’s not for financial or strategic reasons, you’re basically doing this … to build your brand?
Yeah! And because it’s fun. At least to start with. We’re not so sure about the internal-down-rounds or the shutting-companies-down parts, but investing in- and being associated with clean technology and not least entrepreneurship in general is very valuable to us and to our shareholders.