Trust Google to set the trend. Markets may be down and investors depressed but the search giant apparently believes this is a good time to invest in start-up companies. On Monday, the company announced the creation of Google Ventures, a venture capital fund that aims to invest in a broad array of technology-related industries.
" This is Google's effort to take advantage of our resources to support innovation and encourage promising new technology companies…We think we can find young companies with truly awesome potential and encourage their development into successful businesses," wrote Bill Maris and Rich Miner, the two executives charged with leading the venture fund, in a post on Google's blog.
Maris has worked with startup companies for 10 years and Miner lead the development of Google's Android operating system for mobile phones, according to Google.
Google has not yet said how much money it plans to commit to the venture although the Wall Street Journal is reporting that it could be around $100 million over the next 12 months.
Google Ventures will invest in consumer Internet startups, as well as companies doing software, hardware, clean energy technologies, biotechnology and health care, the fund said on its Web page. It will invest amounts ranging from seed financing up to "tens of millions of dollars" both on its own and in partnership with other investors. But it will also include "areas we haven't thought of yet," the partners of the new venture said.
An investment by Google Ventures does not mean that a company must be acquired by the online search and advertising company.
"Acquisitions by Google of portfolio companies are possible, but this is not the goal or focus of our investment activities. Our focus is building great companies and generating long term financial return," the fund's Web site said.
Google admitted that the timing of the venture might raise some eyebrows. "Economically, times are tough, but great ideas come when they will. If anything, we think the current downturn is an ideal time to invest in nascent companies that have the chance to be the 'next big thing' and we'll be working hard to find them," it said in its blog post.