Fast Company checks in on Google Ventures and Bill Maris, who launched the division in mid-2009 with the hope of turning some of the search giant's cash in startup gold. "We're trying to do something completely different, not because it's different, but because we're looking for a different outcome," Maris tells FC. “Despite the mythology that has built up around venture capital, it has become a slowly moldering investment vehicle,” FC writes.
Indeed, according to Maris: "The past 10 years haven't been very productive.” Indeed, during the decade ending last September, VCs as a class earned a 2.6% interest rate for their investors, according to research firm Cambridge Associates. That’s less than you could have earned in an S&P 500 index fund, FC points out. “The numbers look slightly better over shorter periods,” it writes. “VCs have delivered a 4.9% return the past three years and 6.7% over the past five, still far from terrific.”
Perhaps as a result, the VC community has some pretty catty things to say about Google and its upstart venture efforts. “Behind the scenes, though, some question the firm's experience--most of its partners are former Googlers who haven't worked in venture capital before--and its passion,” FC adds.