Google was busy last week, as it invested in one company and supposedly bought another.
Google invested $3.9 million in bioinformatics startup 23andMe, which also received funding for its Series A deal from Genentech, New Enterprise Associates and Mohr Davidow Ventures. The company allows consumers to search their genome, but the regulatory filing caused a stir because 23andMe is co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, who recently married Google co-founder Sergey Brin. This connection and subsequent deal led to all sorts of snickering in the blogosphere about how the $3.9 million was a pretty sweet wedding present.
Google itself seemed to acknowledge the obvious connections in a regulatory filing, which stressed how the deal had been cleared by company compliance officers. News.com reported that Brin recused himself from any discussions about the investment. Google also noted that it was premature to talk about how the search giant and 23andMe may work together in the future. The startup is a hybrid of personalized medicine and online informatics, with the goal of helping people identify and exclude health risks based on genetic information.
However, Google’s relationship with the company goes beyond the newlyweds.
Brin holds about 35% of Google’s Class B common stock. Prior to Google’s investment in 23andMe, he provided about $2.6 million in interim debt financing to 23andMe, according to a regulatory filing, which was repaid as part of this financing transaction.
However, the 23andMe transaction was just one of the distractions Google had to deal with last week. The company also reportedly paid $100 million to acquire Feedburner.