Google Ventures began its announcement of a new, initially $100 million fund with a list of three game-changing scientific inventions at the Science Museum in London: Puffing Billy, one of the world’s first steam locomotives; a Victorian predecessor to the computer called a “difference engine,” and penicillin.
“We can’t predict the kinds of inventions the Science Museum might showcase 10+ years from now, but we do know European startups will be essential to this future, and we can’t wait to see what they create,” Bill Maris, managing partner with Google Ventures, posted on Google’s official blog yesterday.
“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 added.
The fund will be launched, he said, with an initial $100 million, and function along the lines of the existing firm, which was launched in 2009 and grown since then to invest $300 million each year, and manage $1.5 billion in assets. Maris said Google Ventures works with more than 250 portfolio companies.
Twelve of those companies are in the life sciences—among them genetic test developer 23andMe, molecular diagnostics developer Foundation Medicine, antibody discovery/optimization platform developer Adimab, cloud-based genomic analysis provider DNAnexus, and Flatiron Health, developer of a cloud-based platform focused on oncology care.
Other life-sci companies in Google Ventures’ portfolio include research lab data platform developer Transcriptic; and Rani Therapeutics, focused on oral delivery of large molecules that to date can only be delivered by injections.
Another portfolio company, neurodegenerative drug developer iPierian, was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb for up-to-$725 million in April. iPierian’s lead product , IPN007, is a preclinical anti-Tau antibody set to start Phase I trials early next year, and promoted as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and Frontotemporal dementia.
“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,” Maris said.
Maris is among three key investors listed for Google Ventures’ life-sci portfolio, along with Krishna Yeshwant and Blake Byers. Google Ventures says it goes beyond just giving out capital to include “engineering support, design expertise, and guidance with recruiting, marketing and product management.”
To manage the new fund, Google Ventures is opening a London office that will join the firm’s existing headquarters in Mountain View, CA, and offices in New York, Boston, and San Francisco.