Kevin Rose has been a familiar face in the tech scene for more than a decade now — first as a startup employee during the first dot-com boom, then as a host on some very popular tech shows, later as a powerful angel investor and startup advisor, and perhaps most visibly as a co-founder of companies such as Digg, Revision3, Pownce, and most recently Milk. All those gigs have been unique from each other, but there has been a common thread: They’ve all been relatively “indie” in terms of size and scope, with a startup vibe rather than a corporate one.
So in many ways, the acqui-hire of Milk by Google in March was perhaps the biggest shift in Rose’s career — a move that represented his most significant and complete step out of the entrepreneurial side of the tech industry, and into a role at a major corporation.
But it turns out that he’s not straying too far away from startup land. Last month, Rose moved off of his initial role on the Google+ team to join Google’s venture capital arm, Google Ventures, as one of the firm’s investment partners. At Google Ventures, Rose tells us, he’ll be focused on seed-stage investments in mostly consumer web startups — so he’ll be making the same kinds of deals he’s been eyeing as an individual angel investor for years now, only now he’ll be backed with Google’s name — and, of course, its sizable checkbook.
We were very happy to get the opportunity this week to sit down with Kevin Rose to talk about his new role for an interview on TechCrunch TV. Watch the video above to hear Rose talk about why he left the Google+ team, what he looks for in startup investments, what he looks for in a founder (Philip Rosedale gets a shoutout), bold moves he’ll make to invest in startups he really believes in (he’s got a pretty amazing story about Square), his startup pitch pet peeves, how being a VC compares to being a founder (there’s an analogy that involves banana costumes, and I’ll leave it at that) and lots more.
Kevin Rose is a Partner at Google Ventures, where he primarily focuses on early-stage and seed investments. Prior to joining Google Ventures, Kevin co-founded Milk, a mobile application development company in San Francisco. Previously Kevin was the founder of Digg, and co-founder of Revision3, and Pownce (acquired by Six Apart). In addition, Rose is the founder of Foundation, a private newsletter and podcast, and formerly was co-host of the tech news podcast Diggnation.
Google Ventures is the financially motivated venture capital arm of Google Inc., founded in 2009. Google Ventures invests in startups in industries including consumer Internet, software, hardware, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care and others. They aim to invest about $100 million a year, with deal sizes ranging from seed to late-stage investments of tens of millions of dollars, depending on the stage of the opportunity and the company’s need for capital. Google Ventures currently invests in the U.S. and has offices in...