With Bill Maris leaving, will GV be ok without him?

Maris has said he is leaving the firm "because everything is great"

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 12, 2016 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/46c1

After it was reported on Wednesday that GV founder and chief Bill Maris would be leaving the firm, he gave an interview to ReCode in which he explained his decision to step down.

This was his answer: "GV is seen as a premier venture capital operation around the world. If it weren’t in great shape, that would be the wrong time to leave. I’m leaving because everything is great."

Of course, if reports are accurate, not everything was fine at GV. There have been rumblings of tension since Google became Alphabet, which happened almost exactly a year ago, including cost-cutting measures that have left some executives unhappy.

So was everything "great" at GV? CB Insights broke down some of the data on how things had been going there over the last year.

In short, investments made by the firm have slowed down considerably, but the state of the firm seems to be strong. 

In 2015, GV reduced the number of new deals it was involved in by 43 percent from where they had been in 2015. When it came to seed deals, they dropped by 78 percent in the same time period, from 45 in 2014 to just 10 in 2015.

Things began to pick up again a bit this year, as GV was the most active U.S. corporate venture arm in the first half of 2016, making 31 percent more deals than in the same period in 2015. Still, they are down by 30 percent from the first half of 2014.

Still, by these measure, GV was not making as many investments as it once had been. Perhaps that had something to do with the emergence of Google Capital, the firm's venture arm for later-stage deals. There was also the fact that Google itself started making investments outside of either of its venture arms.

So did GV start to lose some of its influence over dealflow at Google? According to the data, not really. Google Capital was founded in 2013, but GV's investments didn't really start to go down until the beginning of 2015. And even then it maintained a clear lead in the number of new deals from either Google Capital or Google itself.

In fact, there was only one quarter where Google Capital had more than three new deals, so its hard to see there being all that much competition. 

There's one big piece of data that shows that GV has been doing just fine: it's biggest exit came earlier this week, when Walmart acquired online shopping website Jet.com.

The price was approximately $3 billion in cash, a portion of which will be paid over time. Additionally, $300 million of Walmart shares will be paid over time as part of the transaction. That $3.3 billion just beat out the $3.2 billion that Google paid for Nest in 2014.

The firm's third largest exit, HomeAway, which was bought by Expedia, occurred in November of last year. That means two of GV's biggest exits ever happened within the last year, a pretty good sign.

GV is a non-strategic and independent venture arm of Alphabet. The firm has $2.4 billion under management, 300 portfolio companies, and offices in Mountain View, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and London. Some of its most high profile Investments include Uber, Nest, DocuSign, Cloudera, Flatiron Health, and Foundation Medicine.

Of course, not all investments could be winners. The firm also put multiple rounds of money intp anonymous app Secret, which was forced to shut down early last year. But, overall, it seems like Maris is leaving the company in good hands.

His replacement will be David Krane, the firm's managing partner, who co-manages the fund. Krane has been with Google for over 16 years, where he spent over nine years as its director of Global Communications and Public Affairs.


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