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Google Ventures opens new fund in London

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For schoolkids, being labelled disruptive was a sure fire sign that teacher didn't like you. But when Google uses that word about your business, it's time to start thinking about buying that yacht.

Now the Chocolate Factory has announced a new investment fund based in London which is dedicated to rooting out Europe's most "disruptive" startups and then bunging them loads of cash.

The fund has a mammoth $100m to spend, which will be funnelled to any firms Google likes the look of.

Bill Maris, managing partner of Google Ventures, said London was the perfect place for the new fund.

"Wander through the excellent Science Museum in London, and you’ll see inventions that transformed history," he said. "Like Puffing Billy, one of the world’s first steam locomotives; or Charles Babbage’s difference engine, a Victorian predecessor to the modern computer; or penicillin, the wonder drug that revolutionized the treatment of disease. These marvels from the past still influence our lives today, and are tangible examples of how fearless exploration and entrepreneurship can literally change the world.

"We can’t predict the kinds of inventions the Science Museum might showcase 10+ years from now, but we do know European startups will be essential to this future, and we can’t wait to see what they create."

Whether this means golf carts and a weatherless world or perhaps an app to help Google Glass read your mind is unclear. What we do know is that Google is enlisting some of its brightest minds to try to er, help Europe develop a super smart startup ecosystem.

The fund will have four general partners: Eze Vidra, who set up Google's campus in London; angel investor Peter Read; Avid Larizadeh, who operates the British tentacle of code.org and also Tom Hulme, son of Peter Hulme, co-founder of Computacenter. According to Brietbart, government tech apparatchik Rohan Silva will also be involved.

Google Ventures' most prominent recent investment was Nest, for which it paid $3.2bn.

Professor Stephen Roper, professor of enterprise at Warwick Business School and director of the Enterprise Research Centre, said Google’s announcement is "another welcome signal of confidence in the European high-tech industry".

"Google is rather late into this arena, however, with companies such as Intel Capital already having a well–established portfolio of European tech investments," he said. "Perhaps more valuable than the investment to Europe’s high-tech starts, however, will be the potential relationship with Google itself, its technologies and market position. “European high-tech firms have often looked enviously at the supply of risk capital available across the Atlantic. The arrival of Google Ventures in Europe takes us some way to redressing the lack of risk capital in Europe. As to whether Google are on a technology shopping spree or have a real interest in building Europe’s next generation of high-tech gazelles only time will tell.”

The team will work from Clerkenwell, just around the corner from our offices and handily placed for our scribes to pitch their billion dollar idea. Now if only we could think what that troll idea might be. ®

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