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Google’s Head of Marketing reveals what Google look for in a startup

Being taken over by Google is a huge achievement in the startup scene. According to Google’s Head of Marketing, this is what it takes to become a Google startup.

Running a startup is a daunting task. Doing something that has never been done before comes with many risks. Is there an established market for your product or service? Will consumers take to it? How long will it take you to monetise your startup and do you have the money to finance it until then?

If you’re determined to enter the business world, despite the risks involved, who better to turn to for advice than one of the most successful startups of all time and now the second biggest company in the world – Google.

We visited Unbound London, where Google’s Head of Marketing, Raja Saggi, discussed just what the search giants look for when considering a takeover or partnership with a new startup.

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YouTube/TEDx Talks

“By and large, I do try and see about 25% of the inbounds that come to me and want to have a conversation,” Saggi revealed. “It’s a lot of fun to sit down and have coffee with someone who’s got a great idea, even if that doesn’t go anywhere.”

Just a small percentage of those that approach the company walk away as a Google startup. They made just 15 acquisitions throughout 2016, despite being approached by thousands of hopeful companies.

The business world’s obsession with money hasn’t infected Google. Despite generating billions of dollars in revenue each year, accumulating wealth is the last thing on Google’s mind. As one of the most innovative companies around, Google only considers products that truly change its users’ lives.

“We don’t generally look at the monetisation opportunity,” Saggi said. “We look at does it really solve a user problem? Focus on users and all else follows.”

Of course, with more than 1.17 billion people using Google’s services each month, they aren’t looking for ideas that will benefit only a few of them. They are on the lookout for revolutionary technology that will solve a problem for the masses. According to Saggi, the company’s potential user base plays a huge part in the decision-making process.

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It takes more than a good product to become a Google startup

However, it isn’t all about the product. During discussions, Google employees pay close attention to those involved in the startup. They must be a good match for Google’s company culture.

Saggi believes that it is important that the company’s employees will be able to cope with Google’s ‘chaotic environment’. Although, they are also scrutinising the behaviour and personalities of the startup’s own employees to ensure that they are both dedicated and reliable. Google’s ‘don’t be evil’ motto is most definitely a rule that pitching startups must live by.

“You want to work with people who you can trust, who can deliver,” Saggi stated. “I think the team and the values of the team come across quite subtly, but they’re always there in the background.”

Google startup - Compelo

Of course, if you get the opportunity to pitch to Google, so long as you have an innovative idea and the charisma to back it up, there is little to worry about. The tech giants innovate in a wide range of industries, from automotives to AI. As long as you have the Google mindset, they are always open to listening to your ideas, no matter how bizarre or difficult.

“Google is still functioning like a startup in a really large organisation,” Saggi said. “I think we’re pretty open, but we want to make sure that everybody gets the right outcome.”

Did you enjoy learning about what it takes to become a Google startup? Read more:

We asked Google about their new app and what they’re working on

These are the six qualities investors look for during a startup’s investment pitch

Can you answer Google’s job interview questions?