Android co-founder Rich Miner is leaving GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) to start an education project within Google Inc., the investor announced today. Miner will be running his mysterious new edtech initiative from Cambridge, Mass. with the bulk of his team in Silicon Valley.
GV representatives declined to confirm whether the project would be for-profit or part of a philanthropic effort.
Earlier reports that Miner’s new project would be like a standalone startup within Google were incorrect, the spokesperson said. Miner was not available for an interview and declined to share any further details about the new project at this time.
In an earlier interview with Fortune’s Dan Primack, who broke the story, Miner suggested that it is rare to find “quality educational apps and other kid-focused Internet services that [aren’t] primarily either Babysitters or ad delivery devices.”
That’s something of a dis to the myriad edtech and kid-focused companies who have popular apps and services on the market, and have raised venture or philanthropic funding, if not from GV and Google.org.
GV’s edtech portfolio businesses include: NoRedInk, the app that teaches kids how to write well in a personalized way; Wonder Workshop, a maker of robots for kids, and a platform to help them learn to code; and Clever, an enterprise tool for schools that makes it easy for students to log into apps in the classroom, or at home, without wasting a lot of time on user name and password management.
For its own part, Google already operates a massive education business. It sells its Chromebooks and Tablets in bulk via schools, a move straight from Steve Jobs’ Apple II playbook. It also heavily promotes its Google for Education apps, content and Android operating system to schools and educators, as well as developers in edtech.
While Alphabet does not break out education-related sales data in earnings reports, it’s clearly a huge market for Google.
The company’s own Google for Education site claims 50 million users of Google Apps for education to-date, 10 million teachers and students using its cloud-based Google Classroom platform to create groups and distribute assignments and feedback online, and manages 280 Google Educator Groups around the world, to help local educators connect with and learn from each other.
Apple, Microsoft and traditional education publishers like Bertelsmann compete with Google in the massive, global market for education tools and content. And so do startups — edtech investors have poured $2.3 billion into startups addressing the K-12 market alone since 2010, according to research by EdSurge.
Google has preferred to build not buy education tech for its business so far. The same EdSurge report found that fewer than 1% of M&A’s in the education market from 2010 through 2015 involved Google as a buyer.