Google has just launched a startup incubator program named Area 120, with the purpose of keeping staff projects close and fostering entrepreneurship. The program is led by executives Bradley Horowitz and Don Harrison.
Area 120 is part of the company’s already famous policy of results-only work environment (ROWE), which is meant to allow employees to pursue other projects during their working hours. Furthermore, successful projects such as Google Talk, Gmail, Google News, Google Transit and AdSense are all the results of the twenty percent ROWE policy. Even Instagram might have been born within Google, had not its creator left the company before starting it.
This new incubation division is meant to keep employees inside Google when developing new ideas and projects. Area 120 will be located in one of the Google office building in San Francisco, and will hopefully create the best environment for creating the next products of the company.
For using the new division, employees will have to first submit their ideas and business plans for the approval of Google. Next, the teams that get to the next stage can work full-time on the project, regardless of their functions withing the company. The best of the best proposals will even be funded by Google. But this is not all. At the end of this program, the teams are allowed to build their own companies, and Google can even invest in them.
The new parent company of Google, Alphabet, was founded in the same fashion in 2015, on the principles of investing in successful companies and promoting entrepreneurs. Area 120 will function in the same vision, for inspiring new startups, but also keeping them close to the place it all started.
The move comes at a time when Google has already missed on great opportunities to other media moguls. For instance, WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion. However, it might soon catch up with the others with this new initiative, given the talent and resources of those working at Google.
The company seems to have found the best way of harvesting the ideas of its people while also giving them the resources and time to create not only smart projects but also creative startups.
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