Google is planning to keep its talent closer to home by creating an in-house startup incubator for its most entrepreneurial employees, according to a report by The Information.
The incubator is called “Area 120” and will be headed up by Google executives Don Harrison and Bradley Horowitz.
Here’s how Area 120 is setup:
- Teams at Google will must submit a business plan and apply to join Area 120.
- If the proposal is accept the teams will get to work full-time on their idea for several months.
- Once they have completed their project they can pitch Google for additional funding and create a new company that Google will invest in.
The name “Area 120” is a reference to Google’s famous “20% time” which was explained in a 2004 IPO letter by co-founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin:
“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google,” they wrote. “This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”
There have been questions over the last few years about whether 20% time still exists within the company.
20% time has helped create Google News, Gmail, and AdSense, among other projects.
Area 120 seems to be a bid to encourage more of that entrepreneurial spirit to stay within Google and the company’s parent company, Alphabet.
Area 120 will be located inside one of Google’s San Francisco office buildings.