Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently made news by saying that Google plans to keep buying companies at a pace of one a week. Well, get this: Google Ventures is investing in an average of two startups a week. Moreover, Google has doubled down in 2011, raising the amount of capital it allocates to Google Ventures to $200 million from $100 million.
Bill Maris is the guy leading the charge. His team of 43 people--most with company building chops--operates separately from Google, although they borrow Google people for expertise and coaching. They invest in anything with a tech bent--mobile, cloud, media, even life sciences.
Maris and Google Ventures are out to change the traditional VC model, which traditionally was more about high-level help and a golden Rolodex (old-fashioned reference intentional). By contrast, Google Ventures runs a startup university, holds tech talks, and its people get under the hood, even helping startups with code. "We're trying to keep our heads down and be the Googlest fund out there," Maris told me. Yup, he said "Googlest."