Google Ventures Shifts Focus To Health Care

Alistair Barr | | December 15, 2014

Google GOOGL +0.94%’s venture-capital arm is moving strongly into health care and life-sciences startups, mirroring shifts at the Internet giant.  More than one-third of the money Google Ventures invested in 2014 went to health care and life-sciences companies, up from 9% each of the prior two years. The venture group plans to continue investing in the area, looking to capitalize on an explosion of health data and new ways to analyze it, said Bill Maris, head of Google Ventures.

“Barring some huge calamity we’ll see more interesting things in life sciences in 2015,” Maris said.  By contrast, Google has curbed investments in consumer Internet startups. They received 8% of Google’s venture investments in 2014, down from 66% in 2013, when Google placed a $258 million bet on taxi-hailing app Uber.

Google sees opportunity in health care, but Maris said it is also moving against the grain, as valuations of some consumer-Internet companies soar. “If you are at the buffet and everyone is picking the entrée, try the dessert,” he said...