Google’s venture capital firm Google Ventures is setting up shop in London with a $100m (£58m) investment fund aimed at developing start-ups across Europe.
The US arm of Google Ventures was started in 2009 and has a fund of $1.5bn. Its most sizeable acquisition to date was the 2014 purchase of Nest Labs for $3.2bn.
Bill Marris, Google Ventures’ managing partner, announced the launch of the London branch in a blog post, saying the company thought Europe’s start-up scene has “enormous potential” and pointing to companies such as SoundCloud, Spotify and Supercell as examples.
“Wander through the excellent Science Museum in London, and you’ll see inventions that transformed history,” writes Marris, listing Charles Babbage’s difference engine and the “wonder drug” penicillin as examples of inventions that “transformed history”.
“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 start-ups will be essential to this future, and we can’t wait to see what they create.”
The European branch will have five general partners that report to Maris: Eze Vidra, who set up the Google Campus in London; Avid Larizadeh, co-founder of fashion site Botticca and head of the UK arm of code.org; and angel investors Peter Read and Tom Hulme. MG Siegler, a Google Ventures general partner and former tech journalist, will be liaising between the US and UK operations.
The announcement has been hailed as “big news” for London’s tech scene and European start-ups in general, many of which fail to raise the same sort of funding that their American cousins routinely attract.