After focusing on growing its enterprise customer base for the past few years, Google Cloud is returning to its roots and stepping up its engagement with startups. On Thursday, the company announced that it will be offering significant financial support -- up to $100,000 each year -- for early-stage startups in the Google for Startups Cloud Program.
Additionally, the cloud business is aligning the two-year program with Google for Startups to ensure startup customers get a consistent experience across all of Google as they seek access to Google mentors, products, programs and best practices. All early-stage companies in the Google for Startups Cloud Program will also now have access to a dedicated Google Cloud point of contact during their two years in the program.
"Startups have always been an incredibly important part of our customer base, and they continue to be so," Ryan Kiskis, director of Google Cloud's Startup Ecosystem, told ZDNet. "These customers grow incredibly quickly. We have customers who join our program and, months later, are at the scale of usage of our enterprise customers. They're going to be our next generation of enterprises."
When Thomas Kurian took the helm as CEO of Google Cloud in 2019, he stepped up the company's emphasis on the enterprise. Now, Kiskis said his team is working closely with Kurian to make sure they "clearly communicate and demonstrate our commitment to the startup ecosystem."
The new startup support will cover the first year of Google Cloud usage for early-stage companies through Series A rounds, up to $100,000. In their second year of the program, startups will have 20% of their Google Cloud usage costs covered, up to an additional $100,000 in credits.
The funding covers all Google Cloud products and services and should be more than enough to cover all of a startup's cloud costs for those two years, Kiskis said.
"We want to make sure they're focusing on building and delivering what they need," he said.