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Venture Capital Firms Combine to Form Investment Collective for Google Glass
On Wednesday April 17th the internet giant and pioneer Google announced that it had begun distribution of the highly expected ‘Google Glass’, with a select number of competition winners and programmers being able to access the technology first. During the previous week, Google’s investment arm partnered with two venture capital companies in order to locate and provide financial support for entrepreneurs who wish to build programs to run on Google Glass. This partnership intends to support the business people who will come to populate the system with apps and accessories like those which reinvented the mobile phone industry.
The two venture capital firms with whom Google will collaborate are Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz. Both of these companies have a history of financing tech startups which have grown into important businesses in the sector. Kleiner Perkins’ past investments include the Google search engine just one year after it was created, alongside Netscape Communications – an early web browser and internet portal pioneer. Andereessen Horowitz’s notable investments include the online companies Twitter and Facebook.
These firms have pledged to combine their efforts in order to secure funding of between $250,000 to $2 million to seed innovations for accessories and software for the Google Glass system. This stimulation comes early on in that the product is planned for full-release at the end of 2013, meaning there should be lots of time for liaison on useful projects as well as to gage people’s reaction to the premiere. Kleiner Perkins and Andereessen Horowitz’s experience and knowledge within the genesis of great computer products should be very important for the new business people who they’re supporting.
With a new and potentially very lucrative market like this one, venture capital firms stand to make large returns on the funds which they inject into the startups. The Google Glass system is largely unpopulated with apps and services, meaning massive opportunities for companies which can capture the customer’s interest and provide something useful. Of course, this can also mean benefits for people who invest in venture capital or who place their funds in other financial schemes such as an investment ISA, which invests savers’ money in stocks, shares and other funds (with protection against tax liability). Some of the returns on investments like these are derived from venture capital. As a result, banks and investors who have money managed through Kleiner Perkins and Andereessen Horowitz should expect an interesting and hopefully profitable time, benefits which will be passed on to savers, too. The same should be the case for other banks and investors which get involved at this point of later, who will stand to earn a useful stake in what could become a very profitable sector.
Manager of Google Ventures, Bill Maris, expressed that any businesses which received investment from the Glass Collective would get three times the normal investment, support and feedback, alongside cooperation on an ‘unprecedented’ level. Maris and Andreessen drew comparison between Google Glass and the breakthrough that was the release of the Mosaic Web browser (for which Andreessen was a developer) in 1993. Mosaic (which led to the Netscape browser) introduced the modern paradigm of web use, with users accessing information online by clicking hyperlinks.
The Google Glass product comprises a pair of light, sleek-framed glasses which feature a concealed camera and a small display positioned in front of the right eye. With functionality which is planned to match that of a smartphone, Glass will respond, instead, to voice commands. The first versions of the device being distributed to an undisclosed number of computer programmers as well as to 8,000 US residents who won their place in a contest – all customers will pay $1,500 per item. Andreessen commented that many of the first Glass applications will probably be specialized systems which make use of Google Glass’ hands-free nature – such as in health care, stock trading and emergency services.
Noting that Google Glass ‘looks like the future’, Andreessen noted that now is the time for entrepreneurs to think seriously about doing business within the service. With Google Glass now out in the world, businesses and venture capital firms can anticipate an exciting and dynamic time, as companies emerge and compete within a new and innovative system.
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