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AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Google has launched a new venture capital program focused on artificial intelligence, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

Why it matters: Google has never before had an investment effort aimed at a specific type of technology. Plus, this will be led by engineers, rather than by professional venture capitalists.

Details: The effort is being led by Anna Patterson, a longtime Google VP of engineering who specializes in AI. Also involved is Ankit Jain, who returned to Google's engineering department last month after having served as VP of product at SimilarWeb (which had acquired his startup, Quettra). Other Google AI engineers also are expected to rotate through the program, which is designed to provide startups with hands-on mentorship and, in some cases, incubation space and services. Patterson will report up through Google, rather than through Alphabet (unlike leadership of Google Ventures and growth equity group CapitalG).

Deal plans: Word is that the group is seeking to make relatively small investments, having spoken to entrepreneurs and outside VCs about check sizes of between $1 million and $10 million. If the opportunity is right, the new program may co-invest with Google Ventures.

A Google spokeswoman declined comment.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
15 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Report: John Kerry plans to visit China ahead of Biden's climate summit

John Kerry. Photo: Zach Gibson / Stringer

John Kerry, President Biden's special climate envoy, is expected to travel to China next week for meetings with officials aimed at boosting collaboration, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Why it matters: China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter and the U.S. is second-largest.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."