tv Studio 1.0 Bloomberg April 3, 2016 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT
emily: he was the most unlikely candidate for the job. limited investing experience. larry page tapped him to start a capital fund. one year later, google ventures was born. investment arm has become one of the most active firms in silicon valley with $2.4 billion to spend and investments in over 300 companies, including cooper, nest, and plaque. joining me today, bill maris, gv
ceo. thank you so much for being here. ou were hand-picked by larry in 2008. re a younge, you we entrepreneur, no clout in silicon valley to it what were the early years like? bill: it implied a level of specialness. at a shared office space at a desk in corporate development, sitting next to a corporate developer and in turn who turned out to be kevin developing instagram. at the time, we were trying to figure out what we were trying to do here. i was not picked for my clout or experience. experience lack of let us to develop a unique model. emily: you were going up and
down sand hill road, trying to get people to take you seriously. bill: my career has been a progression of not being taken seriously and volunteering for jobs i was not qualified for. at the time, i did go from firm to firm to say, here is what i'm thinking and we are thinking of doing. some took us very seriously and gave great advice and some literally laughed at the idea. i will not name names, but they know who they are. probably not laughing anymore. but i understand why they did. i had no experience. google did not have a track record as a venture investor. ordinary tot of the have someone like me come and say that we would start a venture fund. fory: what prepared you that? where did you grow up? bill: i read novels and washed start wars -- star wars and star trek. if it was electronic, i would
disassemble it and try to put it back together. about a 50% success rate p or i -- rate.y interested i got really interested in computers and games and imagination and storytelling. all those coalesced into me wanting to be an animator. i thought you could create any kind of world you want to i would draw a lot. i thought it would be an interesting career. emily: you majored in neuroscience. found the subject matter interesting. i pursued it and graduated and decided i did not want to become a doctor and i stumbled into a bunch of things. one of which was a startup. eventually here to gv. managed a biotech portfolio in an investment bank. in 1997, the person sitting next to you -- before google
even existed. we were office mates and became fast friends and were friends ever since. about some friends in her sisters garage. emily: anna went on to marry sir --y she told you about google. here are these two stanford dropouts starting the company. i had a path i was on and i wanted to see where it would lead. a lot happened in between. under my desk and ate a lot of canned foods. , andll with my credit card march of 2000 when the market crashed, it was not worth anything to anyone. we had to see it through the. inthe period and sold it
2002 to web.com./ emily: you ended back at google. i go sergei was insistent back to california. over the course of 19 interviews, they decided ok, bill, we will ask you to start looking into this. what should we do in venture? i spent six months looking into how it might work, and then part of my job was we hired a recruiting firm. as i interviewed people for the role, i discovered the thing i discovered when i sat next to anne and we talked to people pitching us companies. nobody does anything. the people i am talking to do
not know anything about google. it does not seem like they have special knowledge about technology companies to try volunteered and thought i would like to give it a try. was this an attempt to distance yourself from the google name? bill: people called us gv anyway. it was easiest. ventures wouldle kind of misleading in a way that we would not call it verily ventures. it is wrought her than that. it is not a google service. we tried literally 1000 or so different names and we thought gv was the most obvious. the same as it was between gv and google before this. we had a separate entity. i am now the ceo, but we make our investments in whatever that we like.
emily: start of strategies or details? similar, they have a access to information that any partner would get. financial information, etc., but i have got no incentive to share details about what a startup is doing, as i would with intel .ersus google versus facebook our job is to generate returns and hope the company grows. a benchmark, those are kings. those are the firms that entrepreneurs lust after. do you ever feel you are that guy trying to convince people? bill: i think imposter syndrome is a key element of many people's personalities. i am no exception. you are only as good as your next few investments. i think that insecurity comes up a lot. it never bothered me that people
emily: -- bill: this sounds mad scientist. it is not so much about extending life. if you set the goal, we want to land on the moon, and you start by saying, but we can't land on the moon, you will probably never get there. about, can youe live vigorous and healthy lives, our yearsive out of and more years out of our lives. emily: where are you? bill: i do not make progress to we invest in companies that do the work. we are able to develop diagnostics now. the human genome project took 10 years and $4 billion to sequence one genome. you can now do that in an hour on a machine. we can now look at the genome and find places where we see
errors. the diagnostic comes first. we are now moving to a place to accompany we invested in, where -- editing technology. that may not mean something to a lot of people, but five years ago, the idea of the company was hard to fathom that that could be a company. those will move very quickly now in a way that we will have treatments that seem untreatable. emily: what is the goal? is it 200 years? 500? bill: the goal i would put if you look around the world, or even san francisco today, this area of the world, silicon valley is great as an -- at innovation, words that are so overused that people get tired of hearing about them. doesoal i would set out
not have to do with those words. it has to do with distribution. country,that in this if you are a white male, your average life expectancy is maybe 77. if you live in western africa, the life expectancy is 45 or 50. for me, the challenge bell are put out is about distribution of our existing technology, which we could do today. the seven deadliest diseases, many of those, we could cure right now or treat or prevent. not makingat we are as much an effort to do that, if i told you we could double lifespans in this country by snapping our fingers, you would say we should do that to we could double life span and lots of parts of the world, even in this country, just by distributing what we re: have. there have been 100 attempts to develop an alzheimer's treatment and all of them have failed. a successful treatment could be huge. where do you see the breakthrough happening in
age-related disease? bill: there are people spending their entire careers moving actual molecules and working in labs to develop treatments for something that is untreatable. that will be a win for humanity when that happens. we have an understanding of how alzheimer's develops and how all neurodegenerative conditions or 20 yearsthat 15 ago when i was a neuroscience student, it did not exist and was not in the books. we now have tools to. inside even living brains. 1930 that we had no antibiotics. and you die.ease and suddenly, you get a disease and take a pill and you live and you live in that is kind of a miracle. want to talk about specific companies, like foundation medicine, working on a personalized cancer treatment. they have been slow to get
insurers to cover it and some say there is still no viable product. what are the chances of them actually finding a cure for cancer? bill: when we invested, they and after thech pitch, we looked at each other and thought, is it even possible? will the technology get there? are doing now was impossible at the time. the progress they have made to date is so remarkable that it is underappreciated by a lot of people and maybe even the market. they created a diagnostic to genotype tumors so they could help physicians pick the best treatment modality so we are treating your cancer. if we all live long enough, we will get cancer and we can treat your cancer, not what was the gold can't -- gold standard for the generic form of what we call long cancer because it happens to be in your lungs.
step here it will that lead to a cure? they say there is a turf cancer, early detection. so it is a big step. i will tell you there are patients alive who would not be alive but for the foundation medicine test. that is really compelling. in some cases, they did find a cure for cancer. emily: are there any areas of health where you just will not go where technology has not caught up to the need? bill: no. emily: how do you balance whether something is impossible? lose money, need to be correct, i need to be right, then that is the wrong business for you. emily: is that the luxury of working at google? bill: no. if we all lose money, we will not have a job anymore to it we go in optimistic there is a cure for but skeptical of every approach. that is just science.
we have bioengineers and physicians on the team who spend their careers on this kind of thing. we're ok being wrong sometimes or even most of the time. google gives you as much money as you want. put it inuld not those terms are we all try to be rational. how much money can we reasonably invest and expect a good return. we do not have to fun race. it's is probably one third of our time, which will be spent raising money, with companies and other things, which is a great benefit for us. once likened a fund-raising of secret to a bank heist. --the time, it was taken in as an unfriendly comment but since then, the market has changed. i wonder if you think the
reaction would have been the same if you set it today? it was anink entrepreneur or unfairly comment. it was probably not the nice thing to say. if you do not have something nice to say, you probably should not say anything at all but i know the founders and that was a unique situation and i think they learned something from it. the investment did not work out but they were onto something for a short time that burn brightly. at the same time, they were not dealing with sick patients. the kinds of chances we take that entrepreneurs are willing to take in the tech world do not and should not work on the life science side. you have to be a lot more careful. emily: the market is in the middle of a major reset. how do you think this plays out? ♪
emily: theemily: market is in the middle of the major reset. how does this play out? what we have to understand is happening. we tried to avoid investment opportunities that are overheated and tried to work with founders that are making reasonable deals. good investors. someone once told me you can pick your investor or you can pick your price. but you can't pick both. it is better to pick your investor in all scenarios because you want them to be there when things go wrong and they always go wrong. emily: you invested over at a $3
billion valuation. at $6.2s valued billion. thatne suggested to me uber is next in store for us. bill: i am completely biased. but you have a transformational company. when we invested, there were a lot of people that questioned, what are they doing? we pushed all in. it is our largest investment. we have over $300 million invested in the company, which is the size of our entire fund at the time. , peopleg at every stage question, is it overpriced, is it overpriced? they are doing something far more remarkable than we thought when we invested it i do not underestimate that team or the people that work there at all. emily: uber did get a little
comp located because google is interested in maps. over is interested in self driving cars -- uber is interested in maps. our responsibility is to big,o help them build successful, an important and useful a company as possible. emily: now you compete. bill: we do not compete at we are the investors. tesla and apple, everyone wants to be in cars and maps. before it was really the hip thing to be in. any time you get companies that are the size of uber and the importance of apple, etc., they will bump into one another. emily: the last time you were on the show, you pledged to hire a woman general partner. we are not hiring a general partner at when we go to do that, we need to make a deliberate effort to do it. i wish there were something i
could drop in the water and solve the diversity problem. there were other elements to it. most boards are made up of white men. that get the norse invested by venture funds are made up of white men. most teams like ours are made up of wightman. men.ite we put $5 million into something we had never done before, to invest in other venture funds. we invested in four venture funds that are not our own, founded by people who are not white men. they see on the would not see otherwise. you be in favor of affirmative action, hiring a woman who checks maybe not all of the boxes that needed to be checked, but check some other boxes? bill: we do have a female general partner. emily: a huge step. bill: i do not like to point
these things out. people inn other other situations say let me give you the numbers on our team. de-individuation that makes this person so and so are but they are also a technologist and an entrepreneur. emily: you have the power to change things. bill: we are trying to do that. we are looking at ourselves and saying what can we do differently. i had my entire team undergo unconscious bias training. i'm guilty of it. we are all guilty of that. to try and correct those things and start those ways, and, like i said, invest in other funds and try to meet with entrepreneurs that would not come on our radar, necessarily. so yes, we do have the power to change it. many of us have failed. we have done a bad job of it.
which is ok. it is ok to say that. i would like to do better. emily: what is your long-term vision for gv? bill: the first thing i said -- that comes to mind is what i said earlier. the most positive impact for the , thatt number of patients would make me really happy. emily: how about 50 years? bill: i hope i am still around. know, it is hard to think that far out. anytime i have thought where will i be in three or five years, i was so wrong. emily: are you still going to be doing this? i am around to find out it i'm having a ton of fun. , gv presidentris