Summary:

Google Capital is taking a foray into real estate with a large investment in Auction.com.

Sold/For Sale signs at houses
photo: AP Images

Google Capital is diversifying its investment portfolio: Auction.com announced Wednesday that it received $50 million from Google’s venture-focused arm. The announcement comes less than a month after Google Capital invested $40 million in education company Renaissance Learning.

A member from Google Capital will also serve on the startup’s board.

Auction.com, which specializes in real estate auctions for residential and commercial properties, launched in 2007. The company recently branched out into international real estate in 2012 — and that area will expand with Google Capital’s help.

Auction.com and Renaissance Learning are similar in that they are both established companies that have cornered a particular market. Auction.com says more than $7 billion worth of properties were traded through its marketplace in 2013 alone.

Rather than investing only in certain kinds of startups, Google Capital will likely continue its trend of finding leaders in specific markets to express influence. It’s an important way for Google to not only gain footholds in many kinds of online industries (including ones it does not specialize in itself) but also to ensure that those companies won’t compete against it.

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