Google gets into the venture capital game

Google may be cutting back on out-and-out acquisitions, but that doesn't mean it's not interested in getting in on the next big thing. The company today announced the launch of Google Ventures, a venture capital fund designed to nurture and develop start-ups across a range of industries and technologies. So rather than the put all its eggs in one start-up basket, Google's decided to spread the wealth among many and see what develops.

According to the New York Times, Google Ventures is expected to invest $100 million over the next 12 months, and will be overseen by David Drummond, who will continue as senior vice president of corporate developing and chief legal officer. The actual investments will be vetted by the fund's managing partners, William Maris and Rich Miner (Miner was a co-founder of Android, which was bought by Google in 2005).

In the official Google Blog announcing the move, Maris and Miner say they are focusing on early stage investments across consumer Internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care and other industries. They also say they hope to capitalize on the down economy to find and fund promising enterprises:

Economically, times are tough, but great ideas come when they will. If anything, we think the current downturn is an ideal time to invest in nascent companies that have the chance to be the "next big thing," and we'll be working hard to find them.

Think you have the next big idea? E-mail your presentation--of no more than 20 slides or three type-written pages--to Google at ventures@google.com. Google's money guys are standing by.

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