Maris started Google Ventures, now known as GV, in 2009 as a way for the internet giant to re-invest in the start-up ecosystem. The firm struck quick success thanks to the Google brand and the ability to give emerging companies valuable resources like cloud-computing infrastructure along with help from specialists in engineering, design and recruiting.
Under Maris's leadership, GV made winning bets on Uber, Nest Labs and Jet.com. It also invested in HomeAway, HubSpot and RetailMeNot prior to their initial public offerings and has stakes in Slack, DocuSign and Blue Bottle Coffee.
After Theranos's improprieties were uncovered by The Wall Street Journal last year, Maris told Business Insider that a GV life science investor looked at the medical device company and the firm passed because "it wasn't that difficult for anyone to determine that things may not be what they seem here." He told TechCrunch in February that GV opted against backing Zenefits, but made mistakes by not getting into companies including Airbnb, Palantir and Snapchat.
Maris's abrupt departure in August came a year after Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin reorganized the company and created Alphabet as the parent, with Page as CEO. GV was slotted into the "other bets" category, which includes brands and units that are removed from Google's core internet business. Autonomous cars, Nest thermostats and the anti-aging division Calico are also in that category.
Now that the group "other bets" is broken out in Google's financials, the pressure is on to show returns. That's coincided with some high-profile executive departures. Nest founder Tony Fadell left the company in June and Chris Urmson, the technology chief of Google's self-driving car project, stepped away in August.