Google Ventures is yet to spend any of its $125 million (£82 million) European startup fund, despite the fact it was announced over half a year ago.
The fund, revealed last July after mounting speculation, is the first to be launched after the US version of Google Ventures, which was established five years ago and now invests roughly $300 million (£186 million) a year.
Google’s European venture capital operation is headed up by a team of six inveestors with varying experience in creating and investing in tech companies. The partners are: Tom Hulme, Avid Larizadeh, Bill Maris, Peter Read, Eze Vidra and MG Sielger.
But a Google spokeswoman told Techworld this week that the team is yet to make an investment.
Last October the team was reported to have held a “final” investment meeting with an unnamed London startup and the group also visited businesses in Paris and Berlin.
Michael Baum, cofounder of Splunk and a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, said he was surprised it's taken Google so long to make an investment.
"I would have thought with all the opportunity in Europe and Google's tentacles everywhere that they’d find a lot of interesting investments in Europe," he told Techworld.
But Peter Walsh, founder of Match Capital, which has a website that helps startups find the right investors, said: "I imagine the unenlightened were licking their lips at the thought of Google Ventures rolling into town, but as my grandmother used to say: 'a fool and his money are easily parted.'
"Google ain’t no fool, so I imagine the investors are taking their time to avoid being sucked into the hype around Silicon Roundabout.
"There are hundreds of thousands of tech companies to choose from so there’s no rush to indiscriminately splash the cash. I’m sure they will become an important player in the UK startup ecosystem, but they’re far from the only player."
Bill Maris, founder and CEO of Google Ventures, told The Independent last year that there is no pressure on his new team to invest thanks to the patient approach of its one backer, Google.
“With a regular venture fund, you raise, let’s say, a billion dollars and then over the next three or four years you’ve got to invest that money, otherwise the people who invested with you will say ‘What are you doing? You’re just collecting fees on our money.’
“My instructions to the team are to avoid losing money rather than aggressively seeking to just do something. It’s like when you become a doctor and they say: first rule, don’t kill anyone. First thing: don’t lose money; next, let’s try to make some money.”
It’s understood that the team will be investing larger sums of money associated with later stage funding rounds, such as series B, C and D funding rounds, as opposed to the smaller sums associated with early stage and series A.
The Google Ventures team in London said it would work closely with the 60-strong Google Ventures team in the US, who have invested £1 billion in over 250 companies, including fast-growing startups like Uber.
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