Public response has been divided over the announcement of the much anticipated $100m Google Ventures fund, which will help support and develop a range of start-up companies. After all, Google is no longer the do-no-wrong darling of the net, and people are becoming more scep[tical of its motives.
Even in 2007, when Google Ventures was really only a murmur, commentators were claiming that the start-up fund would become a ‘thorn in the side’ of venture capitalists – just as it's parent had to companies in the software, publishing and advertising industries. Well that's life, you never get things your own way for long in business.
VC money is pretty hard to come by these days, so this effort should come as a welcome boost to those lucky firms who do manage to get their hands on some of the dosh. And as 'branded money' goes, there's no better name to be in bed with than Google.
One casualty of the VC fund may be Google’s existing philanthropic arm - Google Ventures’ managing partners Rich Minter and Bill Maris point out in the corporate blog that GV will now function as Google’s primary vehicle for making venture-style investments.
Despite the bleating from those incumbents who would rather not have to deal with such a serious new competitor in their market, you can’t help thinking that Google is onto something. The VC sector is pretty desolate at the moment, so the time is right for a new entrant to shake things up a bit. They should also have the opportunity of getting in on the next next big thing at very low prices.
Or as Minter and Maris put it – in typical ‘Google’ language: 'We think we can find young companies with truly awesome potential and encourage their development into successful businesses.'
The money is to be targetted at start-ups in the consumer-Internet, software, hardware, clean tech, bio tech and healthcare industries. All you have to do to be in with a shout of gettting some cash is submit a 20-slide, or three-page, business proposal for consideration.
So if you’ve got a great business idea and can’t find a backer, get in there. Better hurry though – we imagine there are going to be a lot off wannabe entrepreneurs out there working on their PowerPoint pitches over the coming weeks. And Google is one firm that knows all about first mover advantage…