One of the best and worst things about Google employees is that they tend to spin off and create their own startups. It’s great for innovation and competition, but it’s bad for Google since it causes them to lose talent. Google’s solution? Allow those employees to chase startups under Google’s corporate umbrella.
This new program is an official in-house startup incubator, and Google is calling it Area 120. Employers will be able to develop ideas with Google’s assistance, and if things go smoothly, they’ll have the potential to strike out on their own with Google as an investor. That’s a better stepping stone than most off-the-street startups have.
The program wouldn’t allow just anyone to leave their daily Google duties, however. Employees would need to submit a business plan to move into Area 120, and Google has to vet and accept it, but if it is accepted they’d have free reign to chase an idea without risking losing their job at Google once it was over.
Obviously this isn’t official from Google yet, but considering how competitive Silicon Valley is, it’d make sense for Google to try out any form of talent retention they can. It’d be interesting to see if the idea catches on, with more companies opting to foster startups within their walls instead of searching out startups and investing or buying them.