Google Ventures opens new fund in London

El Reg has a new neighbour. So. Who's for a game of knock, knock, Ginger?


For schoolkids, being labelled disruptive was a sure fire sign that teacher didn't like you. But when Google uses that word about your business, it's time to start thinking about buying that yacht.

Now the Chocolate Factory has announced a new investment fund based in London which is dedicated to rooting out Europe's most "disruptive" startups and then bunging them loads of cash.

The fund has a mammoth $100m to spend, which will be funnelled to any firms Google likes the look of.

Bill Maris, managing partner of Google Ventures, said London was the perfect place for the new fund.

"Wander through the excellent Science Museum in London, and you’ll see inventions that transformed history," he said. "Like Puffing Billy, one of the world’s first steam locomotives; or Charles Babbage’s difference engine, a Victorian predecessor to the modern computer; or penicillin, the wonder drug that revolutionized the treatment of disease. These marvels from the past still influence our lives today, and are tangible examples of how fearless exploration and entrepreneurship can literally change the world.

"We can’t predict the kinds of inventions the Science Museum might showcase 10+ years from now, but we do know European startups will be essential to this future, and we can’t wait to see what they create."

Whether this means golf carts and a weatherless world or perhaps an app to help Google Glass read your mind is unclear. What we do know is that Google is enlisting some of its brightest minds to try to er, help Europe develop a super smart startup ecosystem.

The fund will have four general partners: Eze Vidra, who set up Google's campus in London; angel investor Peter Read; Avid Larizadeh, who operates the British tentacle of code.org and also Tom Hulme, son of Peter Hulme, co-founder of Computacenter. According to Brietbart, government tech apparatchik Rohan Silva will also be involved.

Google Ventures' most prominent recent investment was Nest, for which it paid $3.2bn.

Professor Stephen Roper, professor of enterprise at Warwick Business School and director of the Enterprise Research Centre, said Google’s announcement is "another welcome signal of confidence in the European high-tech industry".

"Google is rather late into this arena, however, with companies such as Intel Capital already having a well–established portfolio of European tech investments," he said. "Perhaps more valuable than the investment to Europe’s high-tech starts, however, will be the potential relationship with Google itself, its technologies and market position. “European high-tech firms have often looked enviously at the supply of risk capital available across the Atlantic. The arrival of Google Ventures in Europe takes us some way to redressing the lack of risk capital in Europe. As to whether Google are on a technology shopping spree or have a real interest in building Europe’s next generation of high-tech gazelles only time will tell.”

The team will work from Clerkenwell, just around the corner from our offices and handily placed for our scribes to pitch their billion dollar idea. Now if only we could think what that troll idea might be. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Telehouse adds fifth datacenter to Docklands campus in London, UK
    Refurbed former Thomson Reuters DC adds 12,000 sqm to holdings

    Colocation firm Telehouse has opened its fifth datacenter in London Docklands, claiming it will be the company’s largest global facility once fully up and running. The firm has invested £223 million into refurbishing the building, which was formerly the site of a datacenter operated by Thomson Reuters.

    Telehouse, the datacenter subsidiary of Japanese telecoms giant KDDI, has just opened up the first floor of colocation space at the Telehouse South facility. This has the capacity for up to 668 racks and 2MW of power, with an upgrade to 2.7MW for an additional data hall scheduled for the end of 2023.

    Once buildout work is fully completed at the site, the Telehouse South facility is expected to comprise a total of 12,000 sqm of colocation space and provide power capacity for 18MW of IT infrastructure.

    Continue reading
  • Union demands better deal for app drivers as Uber license renewal looms
    Mayor urged to enforce UK Supreme Court ruling

    Updated Gig workers have urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to force Uber to give its app drivers a better deal on pay as the ride-hailing biz seeks to renew its license to operate in the British capital.

    The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) wants Mayor Khan to enforce a UK Supreme Court finding that Uber drivers are workers and not self-employed contractors.

    As workers, the app-hailed drivers are entitled to at least minimum wage and paid holidays, the union said. It went on to claim that due to the way Uber pays drivers, it doesn't meet minimum wage, and drivers should therefore get more money.

    Continue reading
  • Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*
    *They're probably fine

    Poll Boffins from UCL's Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory (PEARL) have linked arms with London e-scooter providers to decide on a "universal sound" for the silent but deadly transport mode.

    It remains illegal in the UK to use a privately owned battery-powered deathtrap, but that hasn't stopped the great unwashed – as anyone who has suddenly had to dive off the path during a parkland walk will tell you.

    However, to allow the craze in a regulated environment, rental firms have been popping up all over the country – including TIER, Lime and Dott in London – as evidenced by the amount of scooters cluttering pedestrian walkways or, indeed, the local river.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022