Google Launches Europe Venture Fund

$100-million fund aims to ‘invest in the best ideas from the best European entrepreneurs.’

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A man walks past a Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., June 5, 2014.
A man walks past a Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., June 5, 2014.Credit: AP

Google Ventures, the venture capital investing arm of the U.S. technology giant, said on Thursday it was establishing a foothold in Europe with its first-ever fund dedicated to taking stakes in the continent’s startups.

Google didn’t mention Israel in a blog posting announcing the fund, which will initially have $100 million to invest, but sources said its ambit would include Israel. The fund will be managed from a new London office staffed, according to the Financial Times, by four partners.

“We believe Europe’s startup scene has enormous potential. We’ve seen compelling new companies emerge from places like London, Paris, Berlin, the Nordic region and beyond—SoundCloud, Spotify, Supercell and many others,” Bill Maris, the managing partner of Google Ventures, announced Thursday in a blog post.

To help support the next generation of European entrepreneurs, on Friday Google Ventures is launching a new venture fund, with initial funding of $100 million. “Our goal is simple: we want to invest in the best ideas from the best European entrepreneurs, and help them bring those ideas to life,” Maris wrote.

Launched in 2009 to provide finance as well as engineering and management support, Google Ventures has invested in some 250 companies. In Israel Google operates its TLV Campus, a workplace for beginning tech entrepreneurs.

But until now Google Ventures was entirely U.S.-based, with headquarters in Mountain View, California and offices in San Francisco, Boston and New York. Google itself has acquired several Israeli startups, most notably the navigation app developer Waze in 2013, for around $1 billion, but Google Ventures has not invested in any Israeli companies.

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