Meet GE Ventures
By Beth Comstock
I often tell people that GE is one of the world’s oldest startups. Since Thomas Edison (the Steve Jobs of his era) founded the company in 1892, we have always focused on what’s next and tried to stay close to innovators. Recently we forged a bond with the maker startup Quirky to invent connected products for the home that will help us live smarter. We’ve also created GE Ventures to take that innovation pipeline one step further – into Silicon Valley and around the world.
GE Ventures allows us to gather our energy, health, software and advanced manufacturing (think hardware and 3D printing) startup investment groups under one roof. GE will invest $150 million every year in GE Ventures across those primary practice areas, including investment and, crucially, technical and commercial collaborations. We want startups in those key areas to look to GE as the best partner to help them accelerate and commercialize innovative ideas that help make the world work better.
Startups benefit from our resources, expertise and scale, while GE gets a shot of adrenaline, the ability to stay ahead, find new markets and get to them faster. We know we can’t tackle the big challenges alone – but there are brilliant data scientists, restless tinkerers and passionate innovators who can be our partners on this journey.
It’s a perfect time for this venture because we have already established ourselves in Silicon Valley. Our Global Research software lab in San Ramon is a bustling hive where over 1,000 software engineers are working to help build the Industrial Internet, decoding the data generated by the millions of machines now coming online.
We’re focusing on energy, health, software and advanced manufacturing both to benefit from new insights that will help us grow our core offerings into other markets and also disrupt the current way we do business. In addition to offering startups deep and long-standing expertise in financing new ventures in those areas, our research and commercial teams will be able to collaborate closely and directly with entrepreneurs from proof of concept to pilot to sales and growth.
Silicon Valley is a natural location for Thomas Edison’s startup. With GE Ventures, we hope to find, support and grow with the most promising startups working on that challenge and the other big ones, to keep an old company young and get great ideas out of the garage making the world work better.
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