Alphabet’s top “Other Bets” executives don’t like the odds and are leaving the company

Feeling lucky: Bill Maris, Chris Urmson, and Tony Fadell.
Feeling lucky: Bill Maris, Chris Urmson, and Tony Fadell.
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake, Reuters/Mike Blake, AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Leaving a top spot at Alphabet is all the rage these days, it seems. Bill Maris, who oversees Alphabet’s unit for early-stage venture capital investments, GV (formerly Google Ventures), is the third senior executive at the tech conglomerate to leave since June, Recode reported.

GV’s website now lists David Krane, a partner who invested in Nest and Uber, as the fund’s chief executive and managing partner. Maris no longer appears on the fund’s executive profiles page. We have contacted GV for confirmation and will update this post when it responds.

Maris’s exit follows the departure of Chris Urmson, who led the technical team on Google’s self-driving car project, on Aug. 5, and Tony Fadell, chief executive of the home-appliance maker Nest, who left in June.

Under Maris, GV had a remit to invest in a wide range of companies, using the $400 million its corporate parent gave it annually. It put that cash to work with consumer technology companies like Uber and Nest; health and life sciences firms (a Maris favorite) like genetics-testing firm 23andMe; enterprise software companies like messaging app Slack; and robotics companies like commercial 3D-printing firm Carbon3D.

Maris had notable investing successes, like Uber and Jet.com, which was recently sold to Walmart for $3.3 billion. His background in life sciences (he studied neuroscience and helped develop a lens for cataract blindness) helped him avoid pumping money into Theranos, a once heralded blood-testing startup gone wrong (paywall).

But GV also had some rough patches under his watch, like the closure of its European venture fund a year after it launched. The fund’s London-based partners clashed with Maris, who insisted on calling the shots (paywall) from Mountain View. Business Insider also reported that European partners were expected to have their investments vetted by an in-house algorithm, potentially leading to fewer deals.

Google announced a reorganization into a conglomerate called Alphabet a year ago. The idea was to give each Alphabet unit greater autonomy from the ad-driven Google search business. While Google has flourished under Sundar Pichai, who was handed the reins when Alphabet was created, the conglomerate’s “Other Bets” unit hasn’t fared so well. Alphabet’s revenues are still overwhelmingly dependent on Google, with its other subsidiaries suffering heavy losses.

The latest high-profile departures suggest that the executives who once ran Alphabet’s riskiest ventures see better odds elsewhere.