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10 hot companies Google invests in

Google Ventures is rapidly investing in start-ups

Network World - Google has never kept a low-profile, but even by Google's standards its recent track record of buying and investing in start-ups is impressive.

Google has been on a record acquisition pace, with nine purchases in 2010. In addition to making acquisitions, Google is helping independent start-ups grow with a new investment fund called Google Ventures. Thus far, Google's venture fund has invested in 10 companies in a wide range of fields such as antibody research, "green" utility networks, cars, and of course many types of Web-based services.

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While the Google Ventures Web site doesn't reveal the amount of each investment, it does give brief descriptions of why each company caught Google's eye. Here's a look at the first 10 start-ups lucky enough to earn investment from Google.

1. Adimab 

Located in Lebanon, N.H., Adimab claims to have built "the first fully integrated, yeast-based antibody discovery platform." Founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dartmouth University scientists, Adimab has a technique for delivering therapeutic antibodies that dramatically simplifies and speeds up the process, which is usually time-consuming and requires royalty fees to third parties. Adimab is collaborating with Pfizer, Merck and Roche on research projects.

2. Corduro 

Located in Southlake, Texas, Corduro supplies payment services, including recurring payments, for Internet, mobile and retail transactions. "Our branded gateway for merchants looking to accept credit/debit cards over the Internet is an ideal solution for those who already have a merchant account but are looking for a state-of-the-art payment gateway," Corduro says.

3. English Central 

English Central, located in Lexington, Mass., and Tokyo, makes language learning software that uses Web content, such as speeches by President Obama and movie clips, to teach English. "Its unique language learning software allows users to hear themselves speaking, and shows them exactly where they're making pronunciation mistakes," according to Google. Clips from "Twilight", "Alice in Wonderland" and a Skittles commercial are among the videos used to teach English.

4. OpenCandy

Located in San Diego, OpenCandy provides software publishers a plug-in for their installers that lets them recommend other applications their users might like during the installation process. The process offers a simple way to download complementary software products, but with an "opt-in" style that doesn't waste time or bandwidth downloading programs users don't want. "We help software developers make money by recommending software and help software advertisers reach new users," OpenCandy says. The company reportedly received $5 million in funding from Google and other investors.

5. Pixazza 

Pixazza of Mountain View, Calif., is a Web service "that converts static images into interactive content by revealing the 'products in the picture' across popular Web sites," according to Google. Targeted at publishers and advertisers, pictures that are given the Pixazza treatment are tagged just like Facebook photos, but the tags lead to information about products and where to buy them.

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