Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), the No. 1 search engine, a successful recipient of cash from venture capital funds, now wants to boost its own presence as a venture capitalist.
The Mountain View, Calif., company said it plans to set aside $1.5 billion in designated venture capital funds through 2017 to seed new companies that could help ensure its future.
Google will now invest $300 million annually in new companies rather than $200 million, said Google Ventures Managing Partner Bill Maris.
Google only started its venture arm in 2009, five years after its initial public offering. Other Silicon Valley companies have had venture capital arms for decades, including Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), the No. 1 chipmaker; Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY) and Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), the No. 1 maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
Some of their companies have been spun out or gone public, such as SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR), of San Jose, Calif., one of the most successful producers of solar panels and chips that came out of Cypress, and Anobit Technologies Inc., an Israeli developer of flash drive memory acquired by Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the most valuable technology company, in January for $310 million.
Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif,. Has poured nearly $11 billion into Intel Ventures since 1991, looking at growth sectors and markets, now including China. Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., hasn't established a venture arm but has partnered with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the most successful VC firms, in seeding apps for its iPhone product lines.
At Google, which received a big chunk of its initial funds from Kleiner Perkins as well as Sequoia Capital, wants to look at the most enterpreneurial companies, Maris said, which could include late-stage firms.
To be sure, money is no problem Google. The company reported cash and investments exceeding $45.7 billion as of Sept. 30.
The company has made major acquisitions of established companies including Motorola Mobility Holdings, ITA Software and YouTube but clearly wants to scout next-generation opportunities for less.
Previously, Google has invested in Nest Labs, the innovative inventor of home thermostats that save energy; genetic modeling company 23andme, whose co-founder, Ann Wojcicki, is married to co-founder Sergey Brin, as well as UberSense, which devised an app for a “super coach” for personal fitness.
Shares of Google rose $2.03 to $665.06 in midday Monday trading.