Google: Who wants to be a startup billionare?

Google: Who wants to be a startup billionare?

Summary: Think creating a billion-dollar startup is only possible if your last name is Zuckerberg? According to Google, anyone can do it, and some already are.


Now is the time to start up a billion-dollar company, according to Google vice president of engineering Venkat Panchapakesan, and some Aussies may already be on their way.

Speaking at Australia's second Google for Entrepreneurs day, Panchapakesan told entrepreneurs that digital businesses are thriving more than ever, and that they could be a part of it.

"I would claim that the last 10 years have been the biggest ramp-up in terms of companies going from an idea to a billion-dollar valuation," he said, using Airbnb, Pinterest, and Box as examples of startups that have become highly valuable in a very short amount of time.

"You could be doing those things as well, and I'm sure some of you are already on the way to creating billion-dollar companies."

To get there, he said that there are three major trends at the moment that startups could capitalise on. The first is "everywhere" computing, owing to how more people are connecting to the internet via mobile. About 40 percent of time spent on the internet is through a mobile device, he said, and this is to be further shaped through wearable computing devices, such as smart watches and Google Glass.

The second is "everything" computing, with data no longer being restricted to simple client-server interactions, but instead pulled in from things all around the world. Panchapakesan used the GPS locations of transport, and Philips' smart light bulb as two such examples of different things that startups should be looking at.

Lastly, Panchapakesan said that "everyone" — the online social aspect — is fast changing how the internet is used.

"No longer do you have to figure out how to market your products by having to do a large marketing spend on television or on different mediums," he said.

"Word of mouth is becoming one of the most powerful and efficient ways to get the products out in front of people, no matter where they are in the world."

But Panchapakesan also offered a word of advice that he learned from LinkedIn founder Reif Hoffman.

Panchapakesan had previously asked Hoffman why he tended to pick certain startups to invest in, even when two seem particularly similar. Hoffman's answer was simple: He looks at the person, not the idea.

With that in mind, Panchapakesan told the audience of entrepreneurs that they should work on something that they are deeply connected with and care about.

"Most successful startups and founders ... solve the problems that they want to solve for themselves," he said.

Google Australia engineering director Alan Noble echoed similar sentiments, but said that entrepreneurs should think on a bigger scale, almost aiming for the impossible. In doing so, he argued that entrepreneurs and those following them will truly share the excitement and belief of doing something previously thought to be unattainable.

While some might feel their technical skills are not up to the par with industry-changing ideas, Noble said that being unqualified is an asset. He considers these people to have a better ability to do things in unconventional ways, challenging what others have already done.

"Don't be afraid to do something for which you technically feel unqualified. The chances are, you're not going to succeed at your new venture because you're more qualified than the next person anyway. You're going to succeed because you went about it completely differently."

Topics: Start-Ups, Google, Google Apps

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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  • njytouch

  • Another kind of entrepreneurship.......

    While starting up a business is always a possibility one cannot help but notice yet another kind of business being carried out by some large corporations, namely the destruction and looting of smaller companies for their own profit.

    Such destruction is always legal of course, as the large corporations involved can easily maintain hundreds of lawyers. However, reading between the lines, one can quite easily surmise that what actually happened was not only an example of dishonesty and greed but was also downright larceny.

    Which brings us to yet another form of entrepreneurship, namely, outcrooking the crooks.
    It surprises me somewhat that mobsters haven't latched onto the idea of going after those with all the money. After all, it would probably not be too difficult to threaten and cajole some of these white-collar, private-jet crooks into parting with a few hundred million per year in protection money.

    Your average mobster is no doubt limited by his intelligence and thus can only see the nickel and dime ways of getting money. For someone educated in the ways of corporate business however, the multi-million dollar bonuses await.
    • who's your guy?

      Monday morning is hard this week, Ii could use a hit of what you took before writing this...
    • In need of a break

      What article are you looking at? It's certainly not the one I just read above! The article just says that anyone can make it if they have enough passion, original ideas and/or new ideas for doing old things in a new and better way.

    The ONE ARTICLE where one of the stupid "I made ten zillion dollars by going to this website" spammers would be appropriate, and...nothing.

  • The theory is right but......

    20 years ago some original R&D started addressing the biggest problem in "IT" the way Enterprise Software fails to both support people with reliance relies on programmers who are remote from business i.e. the need close the interpretation gap. To cut a long story short we succeeded even proven to actually deliver and is very disruptive and therein lies the real challenge…….a lot of vested interests as the barrier to being accepted.

    This is a core change to business operational software even Bill Gates in 2008 made an interesting announcement “Most code that's written today is procedural code. And there's been this holy grail of development forever, which is that you shouldn't have to write so much [procedural] code," Gates said. "We're investing very heavily to say that customization of applications, the dream, the quest, we call it, should take a tenth as much code as it takes today." "You should be able to do things on a declarative basis”. Would you believe this is exactly what we had created even catching out Microsoft on some key patents – prior art wins every time.

    So any billionaires no…..not yet... but lots of credit card bills but just maybe our time has arrived. So I would add some advice. Serious technology change is a 10+ year exercise to be ready for commercial exploitation and timing is important being too far ahead of the market can be expensive!
    David Chassels
    • Nonsense English?

      David Chassels - your first paragraph is so badly written I couldn't follow what you're getting at. Please read this paragraph out loud to an intelligent listener or you might even spot the inconsistencies by reading it by yourself. I often wonder whether people read what they've written before posting because this is by no means the first I've come across.
      Incidentally, there's a glaring spelling error in the title of this article. Don't journalists use spelling checkers?
  • movie