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Weekly Trend: Google Ventures Aims to Disrupt the Human Lifespan

Google Ventures is moving into the healthtech space with plans to invest in startups moving to disrupt the human lifespan.

“We actually have the tools in the life sciences to achieve anything that you have the audacity to envision,” Google Ventures’ Bill Maris said in an interview with Bloomberg. “I just hope to live long enough not to die.”

Google is not the only tech giant that sees the value in investing in what could be the greatest long-term reward. Value Walk lists others such as PayPal Cofounder Peter Thiel and Oracle Cofounder Larry Ellison who believe the answer to longevity can be found through modern science and technology.

“These titans of tech aren’t being ridiculous, or even vainglorious; their quests are based on real, emerging science that could fundamentally change what we know about life and about death,” Value Walk states.

And that means, Google must stay ahead of the curve, since it’s not the only company seeing unreached potential in life sciences and technology.

According to Bloomberg, though, Google “isn’t doing this for the money. What Google needs is entrepreneurs. ‘It needs to know where the puck is heading,’ says Robert Peck, an analyst at the investment bank SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, who published a report in February examining Google’s outside investment units, including Google Ventures.”

Google already has its own company solely dedicated to researching the science behind lifespans. Calico exists to use today’s technology to enable people to live longer and healthier lives.  But even with Calico, outside startups researching genomes still are likely to get the attention of Google Ventures investors. For example, Google Ventures largest life-science investment is in Flatiron which is a cloud-based platform for the oncology industry. The healthtech company’s database of cancer patients’ treatments and outcomes earned it a Google Ventures investment of $130 million.

Similarly, DNAnexus, another global cloud-based platform for genomic data and medicine, has also received funding from Google Ventures. The startup lines up with the vision of prolonging life by making it easier to use genomic data to address various health issues.

Last year, Google Ventures invested 36 percent of its capital into life science companies—nothing to scoff at, considering that Google Ventures is competing with Silicon Valley’s largest venture firms.

“Each year, Google gives Maris $300 million in new capital, and this year he’ll have an extra $125 million to invest in a new European fund,” Bloomberg states. “That puts Google Ventures on a financial par with Silicon Valley’s biggest venture firms, which typically put to work $300 million to $500 million a year.”

Through their investments, Google Ventures makes it clear that prolonging life is one of its main priorities, and they believe it can happen–especially Maris.

“If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes,” he said.

Even though immortality through biotechnology sounds like something out of a science-fiction, futuristic film, Google’s overarching goal is based on simply enriching life on earth.

“People are getting caught up in the headline which is about living forever and that’s not really what we’re talking about,” Maris told Bloomberg. “We’re talking about investing in companies that are helping people to live healthier, longer lives.”

Chelsea Tyson

Chelsea Tyson recently graduated from Regent University and is working to pursue a degree in journalism. She previously interned at 1776 where she developed a passion for writing about the…