Google is looking for a few great young companies to invest in through a new Google Capital growth equity fund that it has formed to help nurture promising new business ventures that are in the midst of their growth phases.
“Ever since our founders began working out of a garage in Menlo Park, we’ve thought about what it takes for entrepreneurs to build the companies they dream of,” wrote David Lawee, one of the partners of Google Capital, in a Feb. 19 post on the Google Official Blog. “Sometimes this means bringing great startups to Google—but other times, it means we go to them. Today, we’re launching Google Capital, a new growth equity fund backed by Google and led by partners David Lawee, Scott Tierney and Gene Frantz.”
The Google Capital project differs from the existing Google Ventures investment unit, which focuses mainly on early-stage investments, wrote Lawee, while Google Capital will focus on growth-phase opportunities. “That means finding companies that have already built a solid foundation and are really ready to expand their business in big ways. We’ll look across a range of industries for companies with new technologies and proven track records in their fields. Our investments to date include SurveyMonkey, Lending Club and Renaissance Learning—with many more to come. “
Google Capital will go beyond just monetary investments, wrote Lawee. “The most important—and distinctive—feature of Google Capital is how we work with our portfolio companies. Over the past 15 years, Google has built a strong business, and that’s mostly thanks to the great people who work here.
“Our portfolio companies have abundant access to the talent, passion and strategic expertise of some of Google’s technology and product leaders. While many investors may contribute money and advice to the companies they support, Google Capital is going beyond that and tapping into our greatest assets: our people. They help us succeed, and we believe they can help our portfolio companies do the same,” he continued.
The new growth fund is just one of many efforts Google makes to encourage and invest in new technologies, ideas and innovations.
In October 2013, Google expanded its entrepreneurial efforts around the world by deepening its partnership with UP Global, a nonprofit group that works to foster entrepreneurship. The widened partnership is set to help UP expand from providing entrepreneurship services in 500 cities today to more than 1,000 cities by 2016, according to an eWEEK report.
The expansion of Google’s efforts in helping to encourage entrepreneurship around the world comes on the heels of other moves the search giant has made over the last several years. In 2012, Google launched its Google for Entrepreneurs project, which today supports more than 70 organizations in more than 115 countries around the world. Google was also involved back in 2010 with the launch of the Startup Weekend project, which are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch fledgling startups.
The Google for Entrepreneurs project is designed to help entrepreneurs find local programs and online resources to create and launch businesses that can carry out their dreams, according to the company.
In September 2013, Google said it was getting into the world of health care with the creation of Calico, a company that will work to find ways of improving the health and extending the lives of human beings. Calico is a startup that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases, according to the company. Many of the details behind the new operation, however, have not yet been announced, including just what that goal means and how Google will take on its mission in these areas.
In April 2013, Google’s investment arm, Google Ventures, launched a new “Glass Collective” organization to seek out and nurture startups that can add features and capabilities to the still-nascent Google Glass project. The Glass Collective was set up to encourage and capture more of the future possibilities of Glass, according to the company.
Google Ventures was founded in 2009 as a venture capital fund that would work with portfolio companies full time on design, recruiting, marketing and engineering, according to the company. Google Ventures also includes a Startup Lab, which is a dedicated facility and educational program where companies can meet, learn, work and share, according to the group.
Google Ventures said it plans to invest more than $1 billion in the next five years on many types of innovations that can help drive Google forward. So far, Google Ventures has invested in more than 100 companies, including Nest, Kabam, Homeaway, SCVNGR, ngmoco and Whaleshark Media.