Kevin Rose defended Google Ventures today at Disrupt SF in response to the fracas that Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham caused when, in an internal note, he accused Google Ventures of low-balling on valuations and investments. The note was then leaked by Business Insider.
“Nobody’s trying to go out and halve valuations,” Rose said unequivocally. He also made a big effort to diffuse the drama that has arisen around the situation. “I have nothing bad to say about Y Combinator. They’re producing a lot of great companies,” he said today in a fireside chat at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. “But every time information gets spread internally” it can become corrupted, he noted. “Obviously it’s an internal email that got leaked. No one is mad at anyone.”
Bufferbox is one recent YC alum that Google Ventures has closed on recently. This company, which offers centralized parcel delivery boxes for people so that they don’t miss parcel deliveries if they are out, was named by Rose as one of his top-10 YC companies to watch in this last batch.
He noted the range of investments that are being made by Google Ventures as a sign of how the group is actually investing a lot and making a variety of valuations when the situation calls for it; it’s a case-by-case basis. “Some companies are worth $8-12 million; some are worth $6 million or $4 million. Not every YC company is a $10 million company.”
He also made a point that Google Ventures should not be seen as a direct arm of Google itself.
“We’re just trying to take some capital from Google and redeploy it into the next big thing — in technology in general,” not necessarily specifically related to Google. That could sometimes mean, he added, that this technology might even be something that competes with Google. But he said that there is a structure in place to protect the startup from that.
Google Ventures is an LLC fund, with Google named as its main limited partner. “But there very much is a wall there. There are companies that do things that are competitive to Google and we don’t share that.” But he also notes that Google Ventures has inroads to Google, too. “If that startup wants to get into the Google Play store, we know who to talk to about that.”