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Kevin Rose Goes Part-Time at Google Ventures to Find His True North Again

The longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur goes rogue to scratch his startup itch.

Joi Ito

Kevin Rose, well-known Silicon Valley entrepreneur, is going to cut back from his most recent duties as a venture partner at Google Ventures to start a new company called North Technologies.

In an interview earlier today, Rose said that he had begun to mull a number of startup ideas he has wanted to pursue in recent months and discussed his options with GV head Bill Maris, who offered the unusual arrangement. Rose arrived at Google just over two years ago.

The Digg founder did not give a lot of details about what North will do, except to say it was in the consumer Internet space. But it sounds a little like mobile app incubator Milk, the company he was working on before it was essentially bought by the search giant and he moved to work at its venture arm.

Google was clearly attracted to Rose’s close ties with entrepreneurs and his avid online following then, and Maris said it still was. Rose also had a strong record as an angel investor, putting money into companies like Foursquare and Twitter.

It’s not clear how much time he will be spending at each endeavor, but Rose said that all his investing flow will go only through GV, while he builds his new startup with a small team.

“We will be incubating two or three ideas,” said Rose, who noted that North will try to have one new project a quarter.

He said he missed creating companies. “It’s different to be an investor and sit on the sidelines, when you are having coffee with entrepreneurs and hearing all their ideas,” said Rose. “It’s not the same as being on the field.”

He had, he added, to “scratch that itch as an entrepreneur.”

Clearly, he was very itchy.

Maris said that GV wanted to be flexible to the needs of its partners, although Rose would still have purview over the companies he has already invested in via the fund. His GV investments include Medium, Nextdoor, Blue Bottle Coffee, Clever, High Fidelity and FitStar, among others.

“Business is about relationships and we are not clocking hours,” said Maris. “We need to be open-minded.”

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