Businesses Started by Former Google Employees
What startups have been founded by former Google employees? We take a look at the phenomenon of the ex-Google employee turned entrepreneur.
It's no surprise that many former Google employees have started new businesses.
Even when Google hadn't been around too long and they had low employee turnover rates, there was an itch within the genetic material of many talented Google employees that made them want to make their own scratch on history and not just be along for Sergei and Larry's ride.
Why Former Google Employees Make for Great Entrepreneurs
In this article, we've created a list of Google entrepreneurs that we will be updating continually.
Without a doubt, if you are a Google former employee starting a business, you've got a big leg up on other entrepreneurs.
It's almost a BGOTO - a blinding glimpse of the obvious - that ex-Googlers start further down the track than the rest of us.
Before we get to our list of former Google employees who have started a business, let's enumerate a few key reasons why Google alumni have a high probability of doing well as entrepreneurs.
- Brain Power. You're smart. We all know that Google set a high bar for hiring. Being smart isn't everything, but it comes in handy for many entrepreneurs.
- Brain Food. Some of Google's worst ideas are probably good ideas that just don't quite make it to the top of Google's to do list. Within Google's walls, you see a lot of things and some of those things will get you thinking about some great business ideas.
- Fully Loaded. You've got your seed money. If you joined Google early enough, you have some cash that will allow you to launch your new business.
- Insider Insights. As a former Google employee, you have a deep understanding of how Google works. That in and of itself can be a big advantage to a new entrepreneur. Want to be #1 in the SERPs for your category? Easy. Not only that you know what people are looking for on the web that isn't there for them.
- Wired. If you worked at Google, you know a lot of people that matter. The network of Google alumni is a very powerful one. That network's valuation is only going to grow as the years go by.
- VC Love. "Former Google Executive" -- it's a pedigree that gets venture capitalists drooling. While most people won't get an audience with a VC firm, you'll get one just because you have "formerly worked at Google" in the management section of the executive summary.
- PR Love. Everyone at Google (during and after) is a celebrity. Seriously. That will make it very easy for you to get PR, both from traditional media and all forms of social media citizen-journalists.
Our List of Startups Founded by Former Google Employees
OK, let's cut to the chase. Here's our list of post-Google startups, founded by people who worked at Google. If we are missing a Google entrepreneur who should be on the list, please post it in the comments below.
The latest ex-Google employee startup to get a ton of buzz is Cuil.com, which plays in exactly the same space as Google. Cuil was founded by Google employees Anna Patterson and Russell Power. They launched to much fanfare in July 2008.
Update: Cuil was shutdown in September 2010.
A Google alumni startup company focused on fighting against malware, Dasient hopes to find its fortune in the website vulnerability detection and correction market. Neil Daswani, co-founder of the company, used to work as a Web security engineer and product manager at Google.
Update: Dasient was acquired by Twitter in January 2012.
Four former Google employees co-founded social network aggregator FriendFeed. The ex-Google founders are Bret Taylor, Jim Norris, Paul Buchheit, and Sanjeev Singh.
Update: FriendFeed was acquired by Facebook in August 2009. The social network was subsequently shutdown in April 2015.
Formerly Google employees, the trio of Sean Knapp, Belsasar Lepe and Bismarck Lepe teamed up in 2007 and founded technology company Ooyala, based in Mountain View, California. They developed a new interaction and monetization platform for online and offline video.
Update: The company was subsequently acquired by Telstra in 2012 but was eventually bought back by Ooyala management in October 2018. Dalet and Brightcove then bought various Ooyala technology assets, and Ooyala no longer exists as a standalone company.
Joe Sriver, founder and CEO of DoApp was previously employed at Google as its first user interface designer. He founded DoApp, a Minneapolis internet applications company, in 2007.
Update: DoApp was acquired by Naviga in June 2016.
David Friedberg, CEO at WeatherBill, is an ex-Googler-turned-entrepreneur who teamed up with another former Google employee, WeatherBill CTO Siraj Khaliq, to start their company in 2006.
Update: WeatherBill changed its name to The Climate Corporation in October 2011.
George Harik is a co-founder of Imo, a web messenger and video chat service. Previously, while at Google, he managed a team that worked on Gmail, Google Talk, Google Video, Picasa, Orkut, Google Groups and Google Mobile.
E.K. Chung, a former user-experience designer at Google, left Google to launch Sugarcrane, a new fashion accessories brand.
Update: It appears that Sugarcrane is no longer in business.
This investing group was founded by Aydin Senkut, a Google alumnus. At Felicis Ventures, Aydin leverages his Google experience and other talents to offer angel investing, active mentoring and advisory services to entrepreneurs.
So, who are we missing? Leave a comment below. Thanks!
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