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Google Ventures adds general partner to back AI, open source startups

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Google Ventures adds general partner to back AI, open source startups
Reuters
Krystal Hu
December 13, 2023

By Krystal Hu

(Reuters) - Venture capital firm GV, backed by Google parent Alphabet Inc, has hired Michael McBride from software firm GitLab as its latest general partner to focus on open-source and AI startups, the firm told Reuters.

McBride served as the chief revenue officer for five years at GitLab, an open-source developer tools maker in GV's portfolio that went public in late 2021.

The software industry veteran said he would concentrate on early-stage startups that focus on enterprise customers, including those that use open-source and AI-driven approaches.

"I've learned a lot about how open source can give startup and growth companies a big advantage. I think it's going to be a powerful business model in AI," McBride said.

It was important for startups built on free open-source technology to invest in both the open-source community and in growing their revenue-generating business, he said.

While venture capital funding has slowed due to interest rate hikes and valuation resets, GV has completed 125 investments this year with an average of $1 billion invested annually since 2020.

The VC firm, which focuses on early-stage investments and has backed companies such as Uber and Slack, also made some unusual bets in the public market this year, purchasing stock shares of its portfolio companies from GitLab to Verve Therapeutics.

"We're long-term investors and we have this flexibility to invest at any stage throughout a company's life, even after their IPO. We're unconstrained and we think of ourselves as aligning with what the very best founders need," said Dave Munichiello, general partner at GV.

Launched as Google Ventures in 2009, GV now has $8 billion in assets under management from Alphabet, its sole limited partner. The 35-person investment team at GV are split between life science and digital focus, which covers enterprise, consumer and frontier tech in North America and Europe.

(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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