Google has created a dedicated venture fund for European technology companies
Google Ventures, the search company’s investment arm, has put $125m (£80m) into European start-ups in 2014 as part of a newly dedicated fund.
The investments were part of an overall $425m venture funding invested by Google this year, up from $300m in 2012 and 2013. The company said it plans to allocate a similar amount to venture investing in the coming year, to be divided up along similar lines.
Google Ventures was founded in 2009 to provide seed, venture and growth-stage funding for technology companies. Google notably invested $258m to taxi startup Uber last year, as well as investing in smart home company Nest, which it later acquired.
Currently Google has venture has investments in 282 companies, with 16 exiting the programme through acquisitions or public share offerings this year.
In 2014 Google’s investments shifted substantially away from consumer-oriented start-ups such as Uber, placing a greater emphasis upon healthcare technology. Consumer investments dropped from 66 percent of the total in 2013 to 8 percent this year, while the healthcare sector received one-third of Google Ventures’ funding this year, up from nine percent in the previous two years.
The healthcare investments included more than $100m into Flatiron Health, which analyses cancer-patient data for doctors and hospitals, and Google Ventures head Bill Maris told the Wall Street Journal that in general the company is looking to take advantage of a huge growth in patient data and ways of analysing it.
New technologies for older industries
Flatiron chief executive Nat Turner told the Journal that Google is looking to invest in technologies that are changing older industries, and that suit its big-data focus.
Flatiron is Google Ventures’ second-largest single venture investment, after Uber.
In 2014, healthcare and life sciences represented more than one-third of Google’s venture investments, with mobile receiving 27 percent and enterprise and data start-ups receiving 24 percent.
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