Google is now a VC

Google has launched Google Ventures, a $100 million VC fund that will target early stage companies.

Managing Partners Rich Miner and Bill Maris write that the fund has high hopes:

borrowing the best practices of top-tier, financially focused venture capital firms and bringing to bear Google’s unique technical expertise and brand, we think we can find young companies with truly awesome potential and encourage their development into successful businesses.

The pair also see the recession as an opportunity to make investments, or decoded, other firms are short on cash, so we’re going to step in

Economically, times are tough, but great ideas come when they will. If anything, we think the current downturn is an ideal time to invest in nascent companies that have the chance to be the “next big thing,” and we’ll be working hard to find them

Google Ventures will make investments in consumer Internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech and health care.