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Google Ventures Partner Kevin Rose Raises $5 Million for App Incubator, Steps Back From Investing

Rose raised money in the hope of finding his big idea.

Google Ventures

After a few months of dipping his toes back into the startup life, investor Kevin Rose is ready to dive in full-time — with $5 million in hand.

The Google Ventures partner and Digg founder is stepping back from investing to work full-time on his new startup, app incubator North Technologies. Rose initially went part-time at Google Ventures in August, but is leaving investing behind completely (at least for now) to work on North.

He’ll still be an adviser at Google Ventures and will help out with his existing portfolio companies where needed, he told Re/code.

North announced a $5 million funding round Wednesday, a major reason Rose switched his focus. The funding came from a slew of VC firms and angel investors (including Google Ventures), all of whom Rose has worked with before, and gives his five-person team “years of runway” to pursue new projects, he added.

Investors like to say that backing young startups is often as much about the entrepreneur as the idea for the company; in Rose’s case, that seems to be exceptionally true.

“The one big project, the one whale project we want to sink our teeth into — we don’t know what that is yet,” said Rose. “For us, you’re investing in a couple product people getting together and trying a bunch of different ideas.”

North has two apps so far, but won’t ever have more than two or three projects going at once, Rose says.

Tiiny, a video and photo-sharing app where the images are — you guessed it — very tiny, launched in September. The company also launched Watchville in November, an app with news and features for watch enthusiasts, which Rose says has been more popular than expected.

As a result, North will focus on Watchville for a few more months, then kick the tires on another new (still to be determined) idea, he says.

“The last thing I want to do is splinter myself too thin to where I can’t focus on any one thing,” said Rose. “Really what we need is time, and as many shots on goal as possible.”

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