Google Ventures: $1.2B Under Management, 75 New Investments And 9 Exits In 2013

Google Ventures is releasing its year-end data for 2013, showing that the firm made 75 new investments and saw 9 exits for the year. In total, GV has backed 225 companies since its founding four years ago.

One of this new investments included one of the hottest VC deals of the year, Google backed disruptive transportation startup Uber with $258 million, along with TPG.

IPOs included RetailMeNot, Silver Spring Networks and Foundation Medicine. Among the acquisitions in the firm: Parse (Facebook), Astrid (Yahoo), Makani Power (Google), and others. In its year in review, the firm reveals that new investment AngelList has helped startups raise $125 million in funding in 2013.

Additionally, the firm revealed a number of stats related to its design and research sprints, and its recruiting program, this year

zdnet-google-ventures-2012-year-in-review

The firm also added partner talent to its roster this year, including bringing on former CrunchFund partner (and my former colleague) MG Siegler to its investment team as a general partner and promoting Andy Wheeler and Blake Byers, to general partners. GV also added two new investment partners, Shanna Tellerman and Dave Munichiello, to its ranks.

As it adds more talent, GV also had more money to spend this year. GV updated its fund size to $300 million this year, from $200 million. Many have criticized the firm for not being in some of the blockbuster deals in the past few years, including Twitter, Pinterest and others, but the Uber and Nest investments have changed this. General Partner David Krane tells us that the firm now has $1.2 billion under management, and will be receiving another $300 million in funding from its sole limited partner, Google, in January.

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This Russian Exclave Has Poland Worried About What Putin Will Do Next

Kaliningrad MapA map highlighting Kaliningrad in red.

Putin’s invasion in Crimea and his apparent willingness to redraw international borders to have set Eastern Europe and the Baltic States on edge.

Russian forces poured into the strategic Black Sea region under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians from “lawlessness,” setting a dangerous precedent for the Kremlin’s intervention in the region.

Nadia Diuk, the vice president at the National Endowment for Democracy, explained on PBS Newshour why Poland is particularly concerned right now:

“There’s a place called Kaliningrad, which is kind of in between Lithuania and — and Poland right now, and that is actually part of Russia that could be a staging ground for all sorts of incursions. So — and as well, Poland, I think, traditionally has suffered a lot from Russian overreach, so not surprising that they would be worried right now.”

Kaliningrad was originally a part of Germany until its annexation by the Soviet Union in 1945. During the Cold War, Kaliningrad was one of the most militarized and closed off sections of the USSR.

Today, Kaliningrad is of extreme strategic value as it hosts the Russian Baltic Fleet in the port of Baltiysk — Russia’s sole ice-free European port. Kaliningrad is also home to the Chernyakhovsk  and Donskoye air bases. It is uncertain how many soldiers Russia has in the region; however, short-range mobile ballistic missiles have also been deployed in Kaliningrad since at least 2012.

Poland has been on edge ever since Russian accusations that it had set-up and encouraged militant training camps for Euromaidan protestors. According to these allegations, snipers during the protests were acting under Polish and American orders.

A alleged Russian saboteur has already been detained in eastern Ukraine. He is being charged with planting explosives and preparing other acts of diversion in an attempt to justify Russian action in the region.

Last week, fearing a possible spread of the Ukrainian conflict, Poland invoked a NATO rule allowing for military consultations between allies if it felt under threat.

The United States has since increased military exercises with Poland. It has also supplied additional aircraft to the Baltic States to augment a NATO patrol force there.

The Laughable State Of US-Russian Diplomacy In One Photo

samantha power russia

On Saturday, right before a U.N. Security Council vote to declare Sunday’s referendum in Crimea invalid, American ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power went over to speak with Russian ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin.

As you can see, Power is slightly animated while Churkin is straight-faced. Two members of Churkin’s staff, standing behind the ambassadors, are laughing.

Russia subsequently vetoed the draft resolution. Now armed men, presumably Russian soldiers, control the strategic Black Sea peninsula while the referendum is carried out.

Here’s what NPR’s Michele Kelemen reported from the session:

“U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power says the resolution was aimed at finding a peaceful solution and upholding U.N. principles on the sovereignty of its member states.

“Russia’s ambassador says the people of Crimea should be able to determine their own future because, he says, a coup in Kiev left a power vacuum. Ambassador Power says Russia’s position is at odds with international and Ukrainian law, and with the facts.”

The Kremlin has made a habit of vetoing UNSC resolutions, particularly those with regards to the ongoing war in Syria. With regards to both Syria and Crimea, U.S. diplomats have pushed for political solutions while Russia has largely stifled them.

Here’s what geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group had to say about the picture:

At the UN, Russia’s views of American diplomacy on full display. #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/PUgAMrEGwW

— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) March 16, 2014

Norway rejects Bitcoin as a legitimate currency, will treat savings as taxable assets

btc 520x520 Norway rejects Bitcoin as a legitimate currency, will treat savings as taxable assetsGovernments are beginning to take a stance on Bitcoin, the latest being Norway, where the director general of taxation has said that the crypto-currency “[doesn’t] fall under the usual definition of money or currency.”

After deliberation and research, Norwegian authorities announced that they will treat Bitcoin savings as assets which are subject to capital gains tax, according to a Bloomberg report.

The ruling follows Korea’s decision to reject Bitcoin as a legal currency, while China’s central bank responded to the growth of Bitcoin in the country by saying it doesn’t recognize it as a legal currency and warning of associated risks.

Molecular Biologist Explains How THC Completely Kills Cancer Cells

cannabis_cures_cancer

Dr. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist at Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, clearly explaining how THC (the main psychoactive constitute of the cannabis plant) completely kills cancer cells.

Not long ago, we published an article examining a case study recently published where doctors used cannabis to treat Leukemia, you can read more about that here. To read more articles and view studies about how cannabis is an effective treatment and cure for cancer, click here.

Cannabinoids refer to any of group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. The body itself produces  compounds called endocannabinoids and they play a role in many processes within the body that help to create a healthy environment. I think it’s also important to note that cannabis has been shown to treat cancer without any psychoactive effects.

Cannabinoids have been proven to reduce cancer cells as they have a great impact on the rebuilding of the immune system. Although not every strain of cannabis has the same effect, more and more patients are seeing success in cancer reduction in a short period of time by using cannabis. Contrary to popular  belief, smoking cannabis does not assist a great deal in treating disease within the body as therapeutic levels cannot be reached through smoking. Creating oil from the plant or eating the plant is the best way to go about getting the necessary ingredients, the cannabinoids.

The world has come a long way with with regards to accepting this plant as a medicine rather than a harmful substance. It’s a plant that could benefit the planet in more ways than one. Cannabis is not something offered in the same regard as chemotherapy, but more people are becoming aware if it, which is why it’s so important to continue to spread information like this. Nobody can really deny the tremendous healing power of this plant.

Watch video with Dr. Christina Sanchez

USA’s Mysterious 3rd Largest Treasury Holder Ramps Higher

majorforeign

When we reported last month that in a shocking twist, “Belgium” holdings of Treasurys had soared by a massive amount in the past three months, making the tiny country the third largest holder of US paper, our Belgian readers took offsense alleging it is impossible that Belgium itself could be buying all this paper, explaining it was all Euroclear. Well, yes: we know and noted that, which is why those same readers probably should have actually read the part in the post which said: “our question is: just who is Belgium being used as a front for?

Recall that for years, the “UK” line item on TIC data was simply offshore accounts transaction on behalf of China. Of course, since China hasn’t added any net US paper holdings in the past year, the UK, and China, are both irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. “

So yes, to clarify for our trigger-happy Belgian (non) readers: it is quite clear that Belgium itself is not the buyer. What is not clear is who the mysterious buyer using Belgium as a front is. Because that same “buyer”, who to further explain is not China, just bought another whopping $31 billion in Treasurys in February, bringing the “Belgian” total to a record $341.2 billion, cementing “it”, or rather whoever the mysterious name behind the Euroclear buying rampage is, as the third largest holder of US Treasurys, well above the hedge fund buying community, also known as Caribbean Banking Centers, which held $300 billion in March.

In summary: someone, unclear who, operating through Belgium and most likely the Euroclear service (possible but unconfirmed), has added a record $141 billion in Treasurys since December, or the month in which Bernanke announced the start of the Taper, bringing the host’s total to an unprecedented $341 billion!

Also of note: Chinese holdings of US Paper dropped by $2.7 billion to $1273 billion, offset by Japan’s $9 billlion increase in holdings to $1210 billion, as the convergence between the two countries resumes.

One thing that is certain: the mystery buyer is not Russia, which in February, or just as the Ukraine conflict was starting, sold another $6 billion, bringing the Russian total to $126 billion, the lowest since 2011, and the biggest annual drop, -24%, in holdings in history.

Sailor in Iconic WWII Kissing Photo Dies at 86

Kissing-sailor

Glenn McDuffie was 18 years old the day World War II ended. Having just exited a New York subway station at Times Square, McDuffie, a sailor, heard the news, grabbed a nurse and kissed her. Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the the moment, which became synonymous with V-J day—August 14, 1945.

McDuffie died March 9 in Dallas. He was 86 years old, according to the Associated Press.

glenn-mcduffie

Eisenstaedt never asked the nurse or sailor for their names, and the iconic image had unidentified subjects for years. In 1980, Los Angeles schoolteacher Edith Shain reached out toLife magazine to claim she was the woman in the photo. Eisenstaedt flew out to meet her and confirmed the she was the iconic nurse. A number of men claimed to be the sailor, but McDuffie’s account was confirmed in 2007 by a forensic specialist.

McDuffie went on to be a semi-professional basketball player and worked as a mail carrier. He will be buried at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, the AP reported.

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