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Google Ventures kills European start-ups fund

Investment group also rebrands as GV, scared that Google association will kill it off

Google Ventures will drop its European funding branch, rebranding itself as GV, as Alphabet seeks to distance itself from Google. 

Google Ventures was launched in 2009 to support start-ups including Nest Labs, Uber, Slack and Kabam. Following Google's restructure, however, the organisation is now seeking to differentiate itself.

Bill Maris, founder and CEO, told the FT that any perceived formal association of GV with Google could kill the investment group.

"The minute that happens we're done that's the end of the business," he said. "There is not a single case that supports that mythology. The company [Google] gets no information from us, we're a shareholder just like any other. My interests are aligned with entrepreneurs and the other shareholders and not Google." 

In the process of this shift, however, the Europe-centric funding is being incorporated into the main funding pool.

While this does not mean that GV will no longer invest in start-ups based in Europe, the money will be allocated as necessary to companies regardless of location.  

Vineet Jain, CEO and co-founder of Egnyte, a partner of GV, welcomed the move.

He said: "GV is justifiably pivoting the deployment of its investment capital to reflect a rapidly evolving start-up paradigm. By thinking beyond the status quo, which has been a long-standing mantra of their parent company Alphabet, GV is posed to become an even more dominant force in the venture capital realm. 

"With Bill Maris and his team managing $2.4 billion in capital, I'm particularly excited to see where they place their next round of strategic investments in areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and companies seeking to solve some of the world's largest health issues. It will be interesting to watch and I am proud to have them as an investment partner." 

In its Year in Review report for 2015, GV reiterated its commitment to the life science and health sector, devoting 31 per cent of its investment to the health industry across the year. It also promised to continue this active investment in 2016 and beyond, as well as in areas such as AI, machine learning and security. 

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