Google Ventures CEO Bill Maris quits

Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:48pm EDT
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By Heather Somerville and Shalini Nagarajan

(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc venture capital arm GV said Bill Maris, a leading voice in the venture industry, is leaving the investment firm he founded and ran as chief executive for close to eight years.

GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, said Friday that Maris would be replaced by managing partner David Krane.

"Bill Maris has decided to step down to take a break with his family and tackle something new," GV said in a statement.

Krane has been at Google for nearly 17 years, starting as the company's first communications director.

GV, founded in 2009, pioneered a new style of corporate venture capital, making big bets on bleeding-edge technology such as commercial drones and 3D printing, and new business models such as ride-services company Uber and genetics testing firm 23andMe.

Unlike many corporate venture arms, GV rarely invests in a startup that is acquired by its corporate affiliate. Just six of GV's 320 or so investments have been acquired by Google, a spokeswoman said.

It has roughly $1.4 billion under management, with many companies now worth several billions of dollars. Its investment in online retailer paid off this week when Wal-Mart announced it would acquire the company for about $3 billion. It has also had its share of failures, such as messaging app Secret's demise last year.

But GV has slowed its pace of investments dramatically over the last year and a half. The firm made just 34 investments in 2015 compared to 63 in 2014, a 46 percent drop, according to venture capital database CB Insights.   Continued...

Bill Maris, president and chief executive officer of Google Ventures, speaks about the future during the Wall Street Journal Digital Live (WSJDLive) conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California October 20, 2015.      REUTERS/Mike Blake