Google to launch $100 million VC fund

Google Ventures will aid start-up companies in software, bio-tech, health care, and more.

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By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google is launching a $100 million venture capital fund to develop start-up companies in a range of industries, the company announced Monday night in a blog post.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. (GOOG, Fortune 500) said Google Ventures will find and fund "exceptional start-ups" in such fields as consumer Internet, software, biotechnology and health care.

"They've been investing and acquiring smaller companies for years," said Marianne Wolk, analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group. "This announcement is a natural extension of that." Plus, she added, the $100 million is a relatively small investment compared to the $2 billion Google spent on research and development in 2008.

The company will look to its employees to help evaluate both specific start-ups and investment areas in general, said the blog post, which was signed by Google Ventures managing partners Rich Miner and Bill Maris.

A recession may seem to be an unlikely time to launch a capital fund, as Miner and Maris noted in the post.

"Great ideas come when they will," the blog post said. "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."

Shares of Google were trading up $7.22, or 2.1%, at $349.91 at 1:25 p.m. ET. To top of page

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