Google begins searching for the next big thing

Mountain View (C) – Google’s new venture capital fund, simply dubbed Google Ventures,
was created to explore a broad range
of investment areas for companies and individuals who might come up with
the next great idea. The search monster thinks the freezing economy is
as good a time as ever to invest, betting that its venture capital
arm might even help innovate the company right through the downturn. If
Google Ventures does discover even just one “next big thing”, then the company might
even emerge stronger than ever before once this crisis is over.

Late yesterday, Google announced it’s setting up a new venture capital fund simply dubbed Google Ventures. The search giant said it aims to combine “the best practices of top-tier, financially focused venture capital
with its “unique technical expertise” in order to “support innovation and encourage promising new technology companies.” The ultimate goal? Discover, fund and eventually own the next big thing.

“At its core, Google Ventures is charged with finding and helping to
develop exceptional start-ups,”
the company said, adding that it’s prepared to evaluate a range of ideas. “We’ll be focusing on early stage
investments across a diverse range of industries, including consumer
Internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care and, no doubt,
other areas we haven’t thought of yet.”
The Mountain View-based search monster said it would rely on the expertise of its own employees to dig through potential investments areas and evaluate specific companies and ideas.

The move comes at a most unusual time, deep in this recession — though it’s all but surprising for large companies. Apple leveraged the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture capital firm to setup the so-called iFund, a
$100 million investment fund solely created to finance hand-picked iPhone
start-ups. As you could imagine, the iFund ignited a gold rush
among developers and clever entrepreneurs. Some of them seized
the opportunity and got a much-needed, Apple-blessed, financial backing.
Take Ngmoco for example. They’re one of the first startups funded in the first round of financing and founded to creating games exclusively for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Barely eight months into existence, Ngmoco has produced several high-quality hit titles, like the critically acclaimed Rolando. Ngmoco recently closed second round of financing, a move that enabled further expansion resulting in a plethora of upcoming games, like Rolando 2 and 3, Star Defense, Secret Exit Collaboration, the pet simulator Touch Pet Dogs and a Quake-based first-person shooter called LiveFire. Ngmoco executives demonstrated the latter two games on-stage during Apple’s recent iPhone OS 3.0 event.

all of this in mind, it should come as no surprise that Google decided to put
its money on table to attract some free-roaming talents it hasn’t hired
yet, and to discover ideas it hasn’t come up with yet on its own. Eventually,
Google bets that its investment arm might help the company weather the
storm and innovate itself out of this downturn. As any venture
capitalist would tell you, recessions provide a most fertile ground for
seeding and growing tomorrow’s great ideas. As the company noted, “great ideas come when they will.”

So, if
you happen to have come up with the next big thing in software,
Internet, and even bio and clean technologies, Google would surely love
to hear from you.