Venture capital Stories December 7, 2015

Google Ventures year in review: Life sciences and health are key areas of investment

Update: The Financial Times is reporting that Google Ventures is shutting down its $125 million European fund. Starting in 2016, all investments will be made by a global fund, rather than having separate US and European divisions. Five investments made by its European fund were in the UK, while the sixth, a Swedish VR gaming studio, was invested by its US fund.

As 2015 comes to a close, Google Ventures, Alphabet’s venture capital arm, has released their year in review. In a letter, CEO Bill Maris says the firm invested in 39 companies this year and has $2.4 billion under management. For comparison, they had $1.6 billion and invested in 57 new companies last year.

Venture capital Stories July 7, 2014

In a ‘fireside chat’ with leading venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin talked about the moment they thought they’d sold the company to him for $1.6M.

There were four of us at the time – four grad students at Stanford. I remember, we fired off this note to Vinod. It was just a little e-mail that said, “We really don’t want to sell, but for $1.6 million, you got a deal.” And a few minutes later, we got a reply that said, “That’s a lot of dough, but ok we’ll do it.” That’s characteristic Vinod there. So then, ten minutes later, Scott – one of the four of us – comes running in, laughing. Huge grin on his face. He had faked the reply and back then, the ethics around faking emails weren’t quite the same. Anyway, so he had that big joke. The deal obviously never came to fruition, and we went our own way to build search …

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Venture capital Stories June 30, 2014

Google Venture’s mechanical secret to efficient meetings in a digital world

Anyone who has worked for any company with more than, well, one person has experienced those interminable meetings filled with people who like the sound of their own voice much more than they like getting to the point.

Bloomberg reports that Google’s venture capital division, Google Ventures, has a simple solution: a mechanical timer that sits on the table to enforce 20-30 minute time limits on discussion items.

“It makes time visible and tangible,” says design partner Jake Knapp, “so it changes the way people think about time passing.” As a result, he says, long-winded participants are cut off, and the more reserved are encouraged to pipe up before it’s too late.

Knapp says he first saw the $25 Time Timer in his son’s classroom.

I figured what worked for small children would probably work well for CEOs, too.

I’m amused by a Google team using a mechanical device: don’t they know there’s an app for that?

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