Google Ventures Has Created A Remarkable Presence In Healthcare
Google Ventures (GV) is a venture capital firm that was originally spun out of Google in 2009 and is now partnered with Alphabet. The firm oversees more than $8 billion dollars in assets, and has invested in some of the world’s most famous enterprises and companies.
Many of the firm’s notable investments are in healthcare, underlining its dedication and interest in the industry as a whole.
Take for example Flatiron Health, “a healthtech company dedicated to improving cancer treatment and advancing research,” which partners with “hundreds of cancer centers, 20+ top global developers of oncology therapeutics, and researchers and regulators around the world.” While the company started small, it was eventually acquired by healthcare and pharmaceutical giant Roche. Together, these companies have since worked to significantly transform care and research in the oncology space.
Another prominent example is Editas, a cutting-edge biotechnology company that is pioneering gene-editing technology. The company has a bold mission: “We have built a platform that utilizes CRISPR gene editing, a revolutionary approach to developing medicines. Advances in this technology have made it possible to modify almost any gene in human cells—meaning we may soon be able to treat a wider range of diseases.” The company gained so much traction that in 2016, it announced its intention to move forward with an initial public offering priced at $16.00 per share. Since then, it has continued to do ground-breaking work in the gene-editing space and pioneering technology in this arena.
Overall, GV has made its position regarding healthcare clear: “We invest across the entire healthcare spectrum, including care delivery, health IT, devices, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Our interests are broad, and we’re especially interested in companies at the intersection of health and information technology.”
Google Ventures office.
In an interview for the American Journal of Managed Care, Benjamin Robbins, M.D. and venture partner at GV, further explains how companies are evaluated and regarding the investment process: “The process that we like to follow is that we spend pretty much all of our time building up a thesis or our thoughts on a given space before we start looking at companies in that space […] the world of venture capital has a lot of fast-moving, competitive deals that happen as well. Certainly—as much as we try to avoid these, it's hard to avoid—there's just opportunistic investing. There's folks that we know from our network that will send over companies that are raising capital. It's not part of a super deep thesis, and we have to kind of scramble. In those situations, it's usually, we meet the team, we have to do the stuff that we'd like to do over a longer period of time in building a thesis after we meet the company, to validate what they're thinking about, validate who's on the team, validate business models, and then we will make an investment from there.”
Certainly, GV will continue to shine in the healthcare space in the years to come, especially if Alphabet’s increasing investments in healthcare is any indicator of interest. Without a doubt, Alphabet has raised its stake in the healthcare industry exponentially over the past decade, whether through its cloud platform, overall commitment to healthcare solutions, or through specific niches, such as the CareStudio platform. These investments come at a time when large technology companies are increasingly committed to transforming healthcare. For example, Amazon’s recent purchase of One Medical is a direct pathway into the primary care market, signaling the tech giant’s interest in becoming more involved with patient care services in the United States.
Needless to say, GV is just one of many venture funds that are recognizing this growing trend in healthcare. As more funds increasingly join the ranks and double down on healthcare investments, the industry only stands to grow in the years to come.