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Here’s what Google Ventures has planned for 2014 (interview)

Google Ventures partner David Krane

Above: Google Ventures partner David Krane

Image Credit: Google Ventures

Google Ventures had a blockbuster 2013, as you’ll see shortly. But what’s really exciting is the things the firm is cooking up for 2014.

As we round the corner into a new year, let’s take a look at GV’s big bets and big wins for 2013 — all in a handy video clip below.

Some highlights: The firm made a grand total of 75 new investments, bringing its portfolio to 225 companies. Nine GV companies had exits — including a few IPOs — this year, and the GV team conducted 33 design sprints, 36 research sprints, and 33 workshops to help portfolio startups grow and prosper.

As far as hiring goes, GV funneled 1,586 engineering candidates toward 127 companies in the portfolio.

The video below — produced by Google Ventures — is followed by a VentureBeat Q&A interview with Google Ventures general partner David Krane.


VentureBeat: What were the best-attended workshops? Are you doing anything in 2014 to address that demand?

David Krane: The largest reception was for a session dubbed “The Art of Storytelling” — led by Lea Thau, the former exec director of The Moth and founder of KCRW’s “Strangers”. We also had consistent interest in sessions about product management. For example, 200-plus joined us for a workshop on lean product management, and for a product management meetup, we co-hosted with Greylock. We’ll continue to address this interest in the new year, with GV partners Rick Klau and Ken Norton — both with extensive PM experience — working 1-to-1 with portfolio founders to advise them on product management directly. Our companies can expect to see a dedicated PM track among the many workshops we’ll teach next year in the GV Startup Lab.

VentureBeat: What sectors are you most interested in or excited about for 2014 based on 2013’s activity?

Krane: Our portfolio allocation tends to be a mirror image of what our partners are interested/expert in. Our 2013 sector breakdown is a near-mirror image to how we invested in 2012, and I don’t anticipate major shifts next year. For example, we’ll continue to pursue mobile investments, spearheaded by Rich Miner, who cofounded Android. We also have several physicians on our team, so life sciences and computationally intensive health companies will continue to be a focus.

VentureBeat: How were the GV data scientists able to help portfolio companies this past year?

Krane: We have a full engineering team that helps portfolio companies with data analytics. The people on this team are some of the brightest data scientists and machine learning specialists to come out of Google, and the help they provide to our companies is very hands on. In fact, we don’t talk a lot about it because so much of what they do is confidential within the portfolio companies.

VentureBeat: Do you think 2014 will see a wider pipeline of engineering job candidates based on the popularity of learn-to-code websites and services?

Krane: Hiring great engineers is always a challenge for startups, for sure. Our GV recruiting team doesn’t expect a significant increase in the pipeline for general software engineers. That said, we have observed more and more technically-trained developers changing from web to mobile products by teaching themselves to code iOS and android.

VentureBeat: What would happen if a moose attacked Kevin’s dog?

Krane: Check out his Instagram — Kevin works out.

More information:

Google Ventures is the venture capital investment arm of Google Inc. that makes financially driven investments in technology companies. Google Ventures seeks to invest in start-up companies in a variety of fields ranging from Internet,... read more »

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