Google has increased the size of Google Ventures’ fund to $300 million annually, up from $200 million, and the firm’s partners said they expect to increase their involvement in later investment rounds as they grow, Reuters first reported Thursday.
“We were lucky. Larry and I, we just wrote up the check,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in an interview. “This is a really exciting way to be really impactful on the world.”
Founded in 2009, Google Ventures is the venture capital arm of its parent company Google, and does a wide variety of deals, from 40-50 seed-stage investments under $250,000 to a few deals under $10 million. So far, the firm has invested in companies like Nest, which makes connected thermostats, HomeAway, a popular vacation rental site, and RelayRides, the ride-sharing company.
The additional funding will allow the firm to do more deals and especially to do follow-on rounds for companies that are expanding rapidly, but managing partner Bill Maris said the growth in fund size isn’t just about the number of deals they want to do.
“It’s a further affirmation of what we set out to do, which is to find and invest in the most disruptive and interesting founders we could find,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to do a lot more deals, or that we’re going to do a lot bigger deals.”
But Maris said it gives the firm the ability to invest in the right people at the right time, with fewer restrictions on their deal size and scope. He said co-founder Larry Page asked him what he would do with $1 billion, but that it was important to the partners to scale responsibility — just like their startups do — and take on the right amount of funding they could handle for the size of the team.
“A billion a year is not something we can reasonably do,” Maris said. “300 was picked because it was an increment above 200 million.”
Maris said they’re especially interested in investing in mobile, cloud services, and big data. But like most investors, he said they’re betting on smart founders.
“Sergey and Larry are what made Google different from every other search engine out there,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for.”