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Summary:

The web giant’s investment arm is setting up a London office. Details are pretty sketchy when it comes to the type of investments it will make, and it certainly isn’t the biggest pot in town, but Google says European startups have “enormous potential”.

Google (GOOG)
photo: Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Google’s investment arm, Google Ventures, will open an office in London with a $100 million fund for startups in Europe, the company said late Wednesday.

In a blog post, Google Ventures chief Bill Maris said European startups had “enormous potential.” Meanwhile Google corporate development head David Drummond told the Financial Times that “great companies will come out of” the various European startup clusters.

According to the FT, the 4 general partners in the new Ventures office will include Eze Vidra, head of Google’s London Campus, IDEO design director Tom Hulme, serial angel Peter Read and code.org’s Avid Larizadeh. Blogger turned VC MG Siegler “will move to London for short a period of time to serve as a liaison between the US and European operations, while we get this up and running,” a Google spokesman said.

This is a busy time for new European funds, many of which are much larger than Google’s. Last week Russia’s Runa Capital unveiled a $200 million fund with a European focus. Index Ventures announced a $546 million fund in June, and the month before that Balderton (formerly Benchmark) Capital put a fresh $305 million pot on the table. Last year Earlybird revealed a $205 million fund, Partech a $175 million fund and Accel London a $475 million fund.

Of course, Google is Google, and many startups will be attracted to the name and Silicon Valley links, as well as the possibility of perhaps getting acquired at some point by the web giant.

This article was updated to note that MG Siegler is not, as was reported, going to be a partner as such at Google Ventures London.