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Google Ventures could be heading Down Under

Tuesday, 26 February | By Michelle Hammond

Tech giant Google is considering launching its start-up investment funding arm in Australia, a report suggests, but there’s no official word on if or when Google Ventures is expected to arrive.


Patrick Pichette, who has been Google’s chief financial officer and senior vice president since 2008, hinted at a global expansion of Google Ventures when he was in Australia last week.


The Australian Financial Review reports Pichette said Google Ventures could potentially come to Australia if the company expands beyond Silicon Valley.


“I think that it’s clearly duly noted on my side that it’s worth bringing back as a conversation to Ventures that when they think about their long-term or mid-term prospects, they clearly have a fantastic opportunity to come and support economies like the one we have here,” he said.


The news comes less than four months after Google Ventures increased its annual funding pool from $US200 million to $US300 million, having already doubled its funding pool in 2011.


At the time of the second funding announcement, Google Ventures managing partner Bill Maris said it “puts a lot more wood behind the arrow if we need it”.


Google Ventures describes itself as “radically different” venture capital fund, with hands-on teams that work with portfolio companies on design, recruiting, marketing and engineering.


Every year, the firm invests “hundreds of millions of dollars” in entrepreneurs with a “healthy disregard for the impossible”.


Google Ventures has invested in more than 150 companies including Melbourne start-up RetailMeNot, Sean Parker’s Airtime and Milk.


The firm makes a point of working with companies in virtually any sector – including mobile, gaming, consumer internet, big data and life science – and at any stage of their journey.


Google Ventures also offers Startup Lab, a dedicated facility and educational program where companies can meet and learn from each other.


Google Australia was contacted by StartupSmart, but was unavailable for comment prior to publication.