European startups given access to funds and valuable business support as Google Ventures launches in London
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Southampton Football Club is a very canny operator. Instead of spending huge sums on ready-made footballers, it invested time and money into creating a top quality academy. The benefits of this model are that Southampton can have a competitive team before recouping enormous sums of money, allowing for further improvement to the club and hopefully a break into the upper echelons of the Premier League.
Well, it seems that Google may have taken note of the south coast club's success. So far in 2014, the tech giant has acquired, amongst others, home automation company Nest Labs for $3.2bn, AI system DeepMind Technologies for $650m, satellite imagining company SkyBox Imaging for $500m and technology company Dropcam for $555m. However, despite Google's deep pockets, this is still a very expensive way to do business and it's now looking to get in on the ground floor with the launch of the European arm of its Google Ventures initiative in London.
Pledging an initial $100m, Google Ventures is looking to build upon the success it's had in the US, offering engineering support, design expertise and guidance with recruiting, marketing and product management. That's on top of the helpful monetary investment that comes from a venture fund.
“Our goal is simple: we want to invest in the best ideas from the best European entrepreneurs, and help them bring those ideas to life,” said Bill Maris, managing partner at Google Ventures. “We believe Europe’s startup scene has enormous potential. We’ve seen compelling new companies emerge from places like London, Paris, Berlin, the Nordic region and beyond—SoundCloud, Spotify, Supercell and many others.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: “As the tech and finance capital of Europe, London is the natural hub for developing the new economy across the continent and provides the perfect ecosystem for investment in new tech, digital and creative firms of all sizes. Google, alongside many other global investors, recognises the incredible skills and opportunities to be found here. Adding the European arm of Google Ventures to London's roster of digital expertise will help create more jobs, drive more investment and inspire even more tech masterminds to head to our great city."
With the government's recent announcement of a £400m investment into British innovation, things are definitely looking up for startups on these shores - and those of our European neighbours. But it still remains be seen whether the next Google or Facebook could be created on this side of the pond. Here's hoping.