Plans Terminated, Google Ventures Ex-Boss Pulled the Plug on the $230 Million Healthcare Venture Capital Fund

Plans Terminated, Google Ventures Ex-Boss Pulled the Plug on the $230 Million Healthcare Venture Capital Fund December 12, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Easy come, easy go? Only a week ago, BioSpace covered the expected launch of a healthcare-related venture capital fund being created by former Google Ventures (GV) co-founder and chief executive officer Bill Maris. And on Friday, Maris reported that he’s canceled his plans.

Maris left GV about four months ago. At that time, he claimed he was going to spend time with his family. Around the same time, several high-level Google executives left the company when Google restructured itself under Alphabet. Those executives included Nest’s Tony Fadell, Google Fiber’s Craig Barratt, Project Wing’s Dave Vos, and Chris Urmson, who helped found Google’s self-driving car project.

When Google reorganized with Alphabet as the parent company, GV fell into the “other bets” category. Before the reorganization, they weren’t broken out in Google’s financials, but they are now. CNBC hinted that the flight might have been related to additional pressure to show results. Other divisions falling into this category included autonomous cars, Nest, and Calico.

Back in September, there were rumors that Maris was trying to raise between $350 million and $500 million to develop his new healthcare-related venture capital fund, which was going to be dubbed Section 32. This is an esoteric Star Trek reference, of which Maris is a fan. Section 31 was a black-ops, highly secret intelligence division in the Star Trek universe. Maris founded Google Venture in 2009. As of February 2016, it had $2.4 billion in managed assets and over 300 investments. Some of its notable successes included Uber, Net Labs and

More recently, Maris was going to raise $230 million. The only thing known about the fund was that instead of being located in Silicon Valley, it was going to be located in San Diego, where Maris had moved.

Kara Swisher, writing for Recode, indicated on Friday that she had touched base with Maris to see where Section 32 stood. He responded in an email, writing, “Your article this week was accurate, in that I was talking to investors about raising my own fund, the capital was available and [I] was about to file the papers this week, but staring down the barrel of doing again exactly what I just did was not inspiring me, and I pulled the plug. Life is too short to not be true to yourself. I’m still taking time off and exploring some other ideas that may be more fun and impactful.”

Aside from that, there’s no other reasons given why he abandoned the new healthcare venture. Swisher does write, “He’s definitely had his share of issues with Silicon Valley’s insular culture, so much so he moved to San Diego to live and commuted from there to Google Ventures. And, like some other leaders of the various Alphabet units, he has tangled with some of its executives, most particularly its powerful head legal honcho David Drummond.”

There was some speculation that Section 32 would focus on aging-related diseases and cancers. Maris has a degree in neuroscience from Middlebury College and began his career as a biotechnology and healthcare portfolio manager for Investor AB. He also founded Calico, a Google/Alphabet company focused on the genetics of aging.

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