$100 Million Google Fund Will Back European Startups

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (San Jose Mercury News/MCT) -

Google has started a $100 million fund to invest in European startups, the beginning of what could become big-money investments for overseas entrepreneurs and lead to yet more acquisitions for the search giant.

The fund will be managed by Google Ventures, the company’s venture-capital arm.

In a blog post, Bill Maris, managing partner at Google Ventures, wrote: “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.”

Each of the three European tech companies mentioned in the blog post now have multibillion-dollar valuations and wide international user bases, including U.S. consumers.

Maris described the fund, which will be managed in a new office in London, as “initial funding” to “invest in the best ideas from the best European entrepreneurs.”

Last year, Google had nearly $60 billion in revenue and profit of almost $13 billion, and some analysts expect the fund will grow exponentially. Google Ventures provided more than $250 million to ride service Uber alone last year, and provides seed and growth-stage funding to more than 250 tech, science, health and consumer companies.

The European fund will aid Google’s plan to acquire more overseas startups. In a written exchange last year with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulators, Google said it is keeping a large portion of its cash outside the U.S. so it can use as much as $30 billion for possible acquisitions.

Google did not respond to interview requests.

The company last year spent $1.19 billion to buy 19 startups and tech firms, trailing only Yahoo, which made 22 acquisitions, according to research and financial firm Privco.