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The search giant – from Google to Alphabet

Alphabet is a technology conglomerate headquartered in Mountain View, California. The company is one of the largest tech companies in the world and part of the FAANG cohort, along with Amazon, Apple, Facebook (Meta), and Netflix. Google was restructured in 2015 due to a desire to make the core cleaner and more accountable, which would allow greater autonomy to the subsidiaries. With this as a basis, Alphabet became the parent company of Google and several other Google subsidiaries such as the online video-sharing platform Youtube, and one of the largest companies selling smartwatches, Fitbit. Alphabet is mostly known for its search engine Google, where the vast majority of its income stems from.

Founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page

Google was originally founded in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page when both studied at Stanford University in California. With funds from faculty members, friends, and family, the two founders had enough money to invest in some servers and rent the now very famous garage in Menlo park – Google’s first headquarters. Their mission was to organize information and make it universally accessible and useful. Just two years after the company was founded, it had indexed over one billion internet URLs, making Google the most extensive search engine at the time.

Initially, the CEO role fell on the shoulders of Larry Page, who at the time had quite an unconventional way of managing the company. He documented his management principles for reference use, and these were:

  • Don’t delegate – do everything you can by yourself for it to go faster.

  • Don’t get involved if you’re not adding value – let people do their work and talk to each other.

  • Value ideas more than age – everyone, despite their age, deserves respect and cooperation.

  • Don’t say “No. Period.” – when you say no, you have to help people find better ways to get it done.

  • Don’t be a bureaucrat.

Larry Page’s controversial management style succeeded in creating an environment where employees believed in crazy ideas that could change the world. This laid the foundation for what Alphabet is today – one of the world's most successful companies of all time.

In 2019, the two founders announced their resignation from their executive posts. In came the current CEO of Alphabet, Sundar Pichai. Page and Brin have, however, continued to be active within the company as employees, board members, and controlling shareholders ever since.

The Android acquisition

In 2005, Google made an acquisition of an unknown mobile platform, today considered one of their greatest acquisitions. The small startup Android was acquired and Google thereby gained access to experienced developers. With these newly acquired skills and assets, the company spent the next three years developing the first public version of Android, which was released in 2008. The Android operating system is today one of the most popular in the world, used in smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and smart TVs.

Android was close to bankruptcy just before the acquisition and the founder Andy Rubin had to collect external funding to survive. One investor called Perlman invested $10,000, which was all Android needed. Shortly after in January 2005, Brin and Page met the co-founders of Android and offered to acquire Android already in the second meeting.

The angel investors

Four angel investors participated during one of Google's first capital raises in 1998; Andreas von Bechtolsheim, Kavitark Ram Shiram, David R. Cheriton, and the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. Bechtolsheim invested $100,000. Ram Shriram, who Brin and Page met while studying at Stanford, invested $250,000. The third angel, David Chreiton, contributed with $200,000. Last but not least, Jeff Bezos provided the fourth angel investment of $250,000. In fact, Bezos would have effectively been a billionaire with this investment alone, meaning that he would have been tremendously rich even without the successes of Amazon.