Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

The Google Start-Up Network: Google Ventures Invests in AngelPad Companies

Two recently graduated AngelPad companies — Crittercism and Astrid — will announce today they have raised seed funding from investors including Google Ventures.

According to AngelPad founder Thomas Korte, whose start-up incubator has turned out a little more 20 companies, a significant number of AngelPad companies have taken funding from Google Ventures, though many of them remain unannounced.

That relationship is not an accident; Korte and the other AngelPad advisers were all formerly early Google executives. Meanwhile, Google Ventures has become a way for long-time Googlers to stay at the tech giant while changing careers and getting more involved with young tech companies.

Plus, Google Ventures has a very hands-on approach, said Korte, which appeals to many start-ups. And Google Ventures continues to add new partners and associates with valuable start-up experience, such as Sam Schillace, the founder of Writely, which became Google Docs, who now holds the title of “Googler in residence.”

Unlike many AngelPad start-ups, Crittercism’s and Astrid’s founders are not former Googlers too.

VentureWire reported yesterday that Google Ventures has made something like 60 investments since it started two years ago, though only 32 of them have been announced.

Crittercism and Astrid are both interesting in their own right, and are not that similar when it comes to what they actually do. (Though they both have cute mascots/logos, which are pictured at left and above.)

Crittercism offers a support platform for iOS and Android apps, allowing developers to get crash reports and other diagnostics as well as solicit feedback from within their apps. It’s free for apps with fewer than 100,000 monthly active users.

The San Francisco-based company has raised less than $2 million from the iFund, Google Ventures, Opus Capital, Shasta Ventures, AOL Ventures and angels.

Meanwhile, Astrid is a productivity app for Android — and soon iOS — that generates sleek to-do lists. It has been downloaded 1.5 million times in the past year and has 250,000 monthly active users.

Astrid’s seed funders include Google Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, and Jack Herrick of wikiHow and Jump Ventures.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald