Google Ventures said it dropped 36% of its 2014 allocation on healthcare and life sciences startups, making it the top sector the Silicon Valley giant invested in during the year. Although Google doesn’t disclose how much money it allocates towards investment, Bill Maris, head of Google Ventures, told the Wall Street Journal that the company allocated about $425 million for investments, with about $125 million of that earmarked for Europe.
A full list of Google’s VC investing can be found on the company’s website.
Google has been very active in healthcare during 2014, signaling that it has its sights set on 1 of the most potentially profitable sectors of the global economy.
This summer, Google partnered with Swiss eye care company Alcon to commercialize "smart" contact lenses that can measure blood glucose levels and transmit reports wirelessly. The search giant also launched its Google Fit health and fitness tracking project.
But the company has publicly remained coy about its long-term interest in the space. In a talk with Khosla Ventures this summer, co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin said that the regulatory barriers inherent in U.S. healthcare are a huge turn-off, though both averred interest in using technology to improve patient care.
Still, the medtech world has taken notice of Google’s interest, with some trepidation. Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) executive Dr. Stephen Oesterle told medtech execs last spring that Google will be a force to be reckoned with in the medical technology space in coming years.
"Our arch-competitor in 20 years will not be Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) or St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) or Covidien (NYSE:COV) or HeartWare (NSDQ:HTWR). It will be Google (NSDQ:GOOG). I am certain of it," Oesterle said in a keynote talk at MassMEDIC’s annual conference in Boston.