Breaking news: Bill Maris is leaving GV
Maris, a neuroscience student at Middlebury who cofounded an early web hosting company before joining Google, is reportedly being replaced by David Krane.
Krane is a managing partner at GV; he joined the venture arm in 2010, after spending nearly 10 years as Google’s director of global communications and public affairs.
This is quite a bombshell, and, as Recode notes, comes on the heels of a string of other recent, high-profile departures within Alphabet, parent company to GV and several other units.
Android cofounder Rich Miner recently left GV to start an education project within Google.
Alphabet also recently parted ways with Tony Fadell, the cofounder of Nest Labs (acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in early 2014), and several executives at Google’s self-driving car unit, including CTO Chris Urmson.
Maris wielded a tremendous amount of power at GV, which, as he told this editor in an on-stage interview in February, currently invests $500 million a year.
Not everyone realizes that despite GV’s bench of investors, every decision fell to Maris.
As he explained the process during that sit-down: “[A]ll the investment decisions I make, going into a company or when and how to come out of it, is in collaboration with the partner who brings [the deal] forward. So we talk about all the opportunities as a team and everyone is invited to that discussion – not just the investing partners. And we don’t take a vote. It’s not like a democracy in any way. But everyone knows where people stand and we try and give each other good advice, and at the end of the day, the person who brings it forward and I decide whether to move forward or not.”
Asked why GV wasn’t run more democratically, he told me, ” I have no idea, because I’ve never worked as a venture capitalist before. I masquerade as one now . . . But basically it started out with just me. The buck stops with me. So if we succeed, credit all goes to the team. If we fail, the blame should fall all on me; that’s how management should work.”
Whether that top-down process will change now remains to be seen. GV didn’t return requests for comment this evening.
But a source close to GV suggests that Krane is most assuredly a permanent replacement as CEO, having been promoted to managing director two years ago and working in the most senior post at GV under Maris. (All other GPs operate at a separate level.)
This same source says that Maris, who had a child earlier this year, has no known plans. A second source who asked not to be named says Maris has told friends he’s mulling several ideas but wants to take some time off first to recharge.
Certainly, the move seems sudden, based on TC’s recent conversations with Maris, in which he gave no indication that he’d be leaving GV.
While Recode speculates that strife between Google Capital and GV may have played a factor, as well as that Google has been investing in more companies directly off its balance sheet, what’s clearer is that GV has some valuable stakes in its portfolio, including Uber.
GV had led Uber’s $258 million Series C round in 2013 — at a $4 billion valuation. (It’s now valued at a reported $60 billion valuation.)
Last month, during a separate sit-down with Maris at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Maris noted to me that Uber was Krane’s investment.
Krane also led GV’s investment in Nest Labs and still-private Blue Bottle Coffee.
Pictured: David Krane