Former Google Ventures CEO raising new $230 million fund to focus on health care


Bill Maris left the search giant’s venture firm earlier this year

Bill Maris, who founded Google Ventures and left as its CEO earlier this year, is raising a new fund of just over $230 million that will focus on health care investments, according to those who have seen its fundraising deck.

Maris declined to comment about the effort, but sources said he has already tapped an initial small group of limited partners for the venture fund, which is called Section 32. It appears to be a reference to “Star Trek” — these are geeks, people — a likely nod to Section 31, an autonomous security operation on the television show.

It appears that Section 32 will have that same maverick tone, with Maris running the fund himself and without other prominent partners, with his operations largely based in San Diego and not Silicon Valley. Sources said the usual regulatory filing papers on the funding are likely to come this week for the initial investments.

Maris has been one of several top executives who have departed Alphabet, which also includes Google’s powerful search business unit. An early web entrepreneur, he founded the venture capital arm in 2009. By 2015, the firm managed upwards of $2.4 billion and has had an active presence in Silicon Valley.

Its record has included misses like Secret, but also hit likes Uber, Nest, Slack and Jet.com. Health care has been a big interest of Maris’, who has had a close relationship with Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who is Alphabet’s CEO.

As Recode wrote in August: “That proximity has not been without its strife. In 2013, Google launched another investment arm, Google Capital, which backed later-stage companies, but which some saw as competition to Maris and GV. And Google has recently increased its own investments, directly off its balance sheet, pouring money into companies that compete with GV investments.”

Intneral corporate venture efforts are never easy in tech, but it’s does not appear to be precisely why Maris left, said sources. But there was apparently increasing tension, particularly with Google general counsel David Drummond, over autonomy over Google Ventures, similar to some other top Alphabet execs who have left, even if each departure was different.

Since the summer, Alphabet has lost several key unit leaders: Tony Fadell, the Nest CEO; Chris Urmson, the CTO and former director of the self-driving car project; and, most recently, Google Access head Craig Barratt.

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