Google's Ventures arm introduced its team and 10 portfolio companies May 3, vowing to pump $100 million per year into enterprising new companies in the hope of turning a profit.
"Rather than looking for investments that would simply be strategically useful to Google, we aim to invest in best-of-breed ventures in a wide variety of fields," wrote managing partner Bill Maris on the company's refreshed Website.
"Our fund's calling is to generate a financial return while supporting entrepreneurs who are creating transformative ventures. In doing so, we try to bring to bear Google's resources to support them in that mission."
Startups in the Google Ventures portfolio are a mixed bag from all over the country. They include: Pixazza, which converts static images into interactive content; smart grid technology maker Silver Spring Networks; publishing tool VigLink; life sciences outfit Adimab; language learning platform English Central; analytics search engine Recorded Future; location-based mobile game specialist SCVNGR; ad network OpenCandy; car maker V-Vehicle; and mobile payment provider Cordura.
The 16 members of the Ventures team are spread from the company's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters to Cambridge, Mass.
Maris leads the team from Mountain View, while Rich Miner, who co-founded Android and initially worked on the Android team at Google, heads the smaller Cambridge team. Ventures will expand to additional offices in the future.
Maris told media on a conference call May 3 that: "If we were to invest in the next Google or the next YouTube or the next Facebook, that would be material to Google in terms of return, and so that is really our core mission," Maris said.
In other words, Google Ventures is being run like any other venture capital group. Google eventually plans to sell stakes in its companies through an initial public offering or could even buy them out to incorporate technologies into its own portfolio.
"We don't know where the next great idea will come from, but with the help of many Googlers, great co-investors and a growing team, we're going to keep looking while working to help entrepreneurs succeed," Maris added.
If Google Ventures succeeds, it could provide the much needed new infusion of revenue financial analysts expect from a company whose growth they believe is slowing. Google still banks 97 percent or so of its revenues from search advertising.
This model has obviously served Google well for a decade, but it is believed the digital ad market is evolving toward social ads, display ads and in-application ads served on mobile devices. Google has yet to pose a commanding presence in any of those categories, though YouTube is serving it well.
Read more about Google Ventures on TechMeme here.