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Google Ventures to invest in European start-ups

Google sets up London base to pick out European investment opportunities

Google Ventures has opened a new office in London, and plans to spend an initial $100 million (£58.5 million) on the most exciting European start-ups it can find.

London will be the fourth office for Google’s investment arm, and the first to be located outside the US. The other three are found in New York, San Francisco and Boston.

It has appointed four partners to help set up the London operation, as well as assigning venture capitalist and Ventures partner MG Siegler the task of easing communication between Ventures’ Euro and US operations.

Managing partner Bill Maris cited London’s Science Museum as an inspiration for the decision, and said the collection was full of “tangible examples of how fearless exploration and entrepreneurship can literally change the world”.

He explained that Ventures’ goal is to unearth the best business ideas on the continent and help make those ideas a reality.

What does this mean for European businesses?

Set up in 2009, Ventures has provided investment to companies with innovative ideas across a range of fields, many of which have gone on to achieve sustainable success.

Some of its high profile successes include vehicle hire company Uber, personal training app Fitstar and Nest Labs, inventor of the ‘intelligent’ thermostat and smoke detector.

If its US projects are anything to go by, Europe’s entrepreneurs could expect the initial funds allocated to the Ventures project to increase relatively quickly. Their initial US budget was $50 million (£29 million) per year, but this has since increased to around $300 million (£175 million).

Kleon West, business development director at theEword, said: “This is a move that will certainly excite entrepreneurs across the continent. With many great ideas just needing that little bit of financial backing to get started, the next few years could see some truly inspiring projects come to fruition.”

Written by James Riches

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