Google Ventures is betting more and more on life sciences startups each year, and the well-funded financier tells The Wall Street Journal that’s not going to change in the new year. In 2014, Google poured more than one-third of its $425 million venture fund into healthcare and life sciences companies, according to lead investor Bill Maris, up from just 9% in 2013. And, rolling into next year, Maris expects Google Ventures to maintain roughly the same dollar value and strategic focus.
Google Ventures, the investment arm tasked with spending the search giant’s billions on exciting new companies, released its annual report last night. Interestingly, the majority of its money did not go into the areas of consumer internet services, mobile apps, and enterprise software that Google is best known for. Instead, of the $1.6 billion it has under management, it put a whopping 35 percent of its new bets in 2014 into the category of life sciences and health, way up from less than 10 percent in the two years prior. So we hopped on the phone with Bill Maris, the managing partner who helped create Google Ventures, to get his take on why life science is such an exciting area and what lies ahead in 2015.