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Google wants to take on the venture capitalists

By Laurie Bennett

July 31, 2008 at 10:08am

Google is planning a venture-capital division, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

David Drummond, company SVP and chief legal officer, will head the project.

Google has a strong history of acquiring companies, including YouTube, DoubleClick, Feedburner and Orkut.

BusinessWeek reported in September that Google’s aggressive acquisition program was “becoming a thorn in the side of venture capitalists,” because the company was able to snatch up young startups at low prices.

The magazine quoted unnamed sources as saying Google had begun making relatively small investments - of about $500,000 or less - in new ventures, then often buying the companies later.

In its early years, Google received help from some of the major venture players, including Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins.

By investing early in small startups, Google avoids the higher price tags that generally follow investment by major venture firms. It also gains experience in new business sectors.

Through its philanthropy arm, Google.org, the company has invested more than $85 million in green companies, health programs and education.

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