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Google 'Glass Collective' ropes in VC bigshots

Investment syndicate brings together Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures to offer seed money for Google Glass startups.

Marc Andreessen, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Bill Maris, managing partner at Google Ventures, and John Doerr, general partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Google Glass is winning the attention of the serious money crowd in Silicon Valley.

Wednesday afternoon Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, jointly announced plans to form an investment syndicate to supply seed money to startups developing products around Google's Glass and what it described as the "Glass ecosystem."

In comments the partners posted about the announcement on their respective websites, the participants gushed about the potential represented by Google Glass.

Marc Andreessen, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, described the "thesis" represented by Google Glass as truly transformational.

"Instead of having a phone in your pocket or a tablet in your briefcase, why not have the Internet in your field of vision when you want it -- and why not feed the Internet with live video and audio that matches what you see and hear at any time."

For his part, John Doerr, general partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, was no less effusive, echoing Andreessen in calling the technology "transformational," especially "when they're based on great products with robust APIs, powerful distribution and outstanding entrepreneurs."

And here's a shocker: Doerr has sat on Google's board of directors since May 1999.

Also of note: nothing exists in a vacuum and the timing of this newly-formed band of (deep-pocketed) brothers comes less a month before Google's annual IO developer conference gets underway. And if past is prologue, the company may very well decide it's time to whet appetites even further by distributing the new product to attendees.

The advent of Google Glass has excited keen interest since the company began talking publicly about the project last year. However, the test will be getting applications developers interested in turning out in serious numbers to support a technology that, while cool, has yet to offer obvious financial potential. That's where the entry of these well-heeled investment groups can help speed things along. Indeed, there's precedent. In 2008, for example, Kleiner pledged $100 million to fund the development of iOS applications. However, the Google Glass collective is not designed as a similar dedicated fund but more of a common front to push Glass development.

"Each VC can kick in whatever they want," said a spokeswoman for the Glass Collective, adding that the money will go to entrepreneurs in the Glass ecosystem "to help jumpstart their ideas."

Details for submissions are found on www.glasscollective.com.