The Wall Street Journal reports that Google Ventures is dialling down seed deals. The FT reports that Google’s venture capital arm is on a ‘bumpy ride’. But what really caught our attention is that the latter report also reveals that Google Ventures – which will be renamed simply ‘GV’ this week – is apparently ditching its Europe-specific fund altogether.
Update: GV has confirmed this to us separately with the following statement:
“Starting in January we’ll operate as a global fund, rather than running separate US and European funds.”
“This gives us more flexibility and dollars to invest in the best founders and companies, regardless of where they are based, and reduces limitations of a specific fund size. Aside from this, it’s business as usual for the team in London–nothing else changes.”
Update 2: more on the how, why and what from the FT
Launched a year and a half ago, Google Ventures Europe had an initial $100 million (later increased to $125 million) to deploy, and has made only six investments from the fund so far.
Despite its name, Google Ventures Europe seems to have largely limited itself to investing in UK companies: 5 out of 6 investments were UK-based companies (Kobalt, Lost My Name, Yieldify, the Oxford Science Innovation Fund and Secret Escapes).
A few months ago, Google Ventures backed Stockholm, Sweden-based VR gaming studio Resolution Games, but that investment was seemingly made from its US fund. That basically means Google Ventures ‘Europe’ never effectively made an investments outside of the UK.
Last summer, Business Insider reported on ‘rumours of disagreements’ within Google Ventures’ European wing, around the time one of its investment partners (Peter Read) walked away without explaining why.
Google Ventures CEO Bill Maris told the FT that the European fund hadn’t ‘disappointed’, however, saying the investment pace was pretty much in line with its US wing despite not meeting its targets “dollar for dollar”. If any, future European investments will henceforth be made from a single, global GV fund.
Meanwhile, Google recently set up a brand new €150 million ‘innovation fund’ to support digital news projects across Europe, and European VCs are raising new funds almost every week to double down on investment opportunities across the continent (see links below).
We’ve reached out to two partners that were making investments out of Google’s European VC fund for comment and will update when we hear back from them.