Google Ventures reportedly gets $100 million funding boost

The venture-capital arm at Google previously invested up to $200 million a year in startups. Now, that figure will grow to $300 million, a managing partner tells Reuters.

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CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
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Google Ventures, the search giant's venture-capital arm, is getting more cash to play with.

Google Ventures will now be allowed to invest up to $300 million a year into startups, up from the previous limit of $200 million per year. The boost was reported to Reuters by Google Ventures managing partner Bill Maris, who told the news outlet that the increased cash "puts a lot more wood behind the arrow if we need it."

Google Ventures kicked off in 2009 as a way for the search giant to identify early-stage companies and give them cash to help them grow. The investments help Google look like a friendly supporter of small companies, while giving it an inside line on possibly acquiring those firms in the event they prove valuable. If Google decides against buying up a company it has invested in, the search giant hopes to still generate a return through a sale to another firm.

In other words, there's little downside -- save for the risk of investing up to $300 million per year.

Google Ventures invests in companies across a wide array of industries, including mobile, gaming, and life sciences. Earlier this year, Google Ventures led a Series A round for AVOS Systems, a company that currently owns old social-bookmarking site Delicious and China-based Pinterest-like service, Mei.fm.