Alphabet's Unstoppable Rise: From Stanford to Global Tech Leader

1 minutes reading time
Published 16 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Kasper Karlsson

Alphabet is best known as the parent company of Google, along with its numerous other subsidiaries. The journey of Google, evolving from a Stanford University project into one of the world's largest companies, is nothing short of fascinating. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin on September 4, 1998, Google began as a humble search engine named Backrub. Today, it is one of the most recognized and largest companies on the planet. Let's delve into this captivating story, tracing Google's ascent from its early days in a Menlo Park garage to its status as one of the globe's most eminent enterprises.

Key Insights

  • Inception and growth: Alphabet, with Google at its core, showcases an extraordinary journey from a university project to one of the largest companies worldwide with a market cap of roughly $2 trillion.

  • Expansion: Google's expansion into various domains beyond search, culminating in the creation of Alphabet, illustrates a strategic diversification that has fortified its market dominance and wide presence.

  • Leadership and management: The transition of leadership to Sundar Pichai and the unique management principles set by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin highlight the importance of visionary leadership and a culture that encourages innovation and values contributions irrespective of hierarchy.

The Founding Story of Google

The inception of Google was marked by a significant investment from Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, who wrote a check for $100,000, enabling Larry Page and Sergey Brin to transition from their dormitory to their first office in a garage in Menlo Park, California.

Google's search engine rapidly gained traction, noted for its simple design and efficient search results. By the end of 1998, Google had indexed 60 million pages and was outperforming its competitors instantaneously.​ Initially hesitant to adopt an advertising-funded model, Page and Brin eventually embraced text-based advertisements, maintaining the simplicity and speed of their search engine while establishing a robust revenue stream​.

Google's corporate ethos, formulated by the motto "Don't be evil," was highlighted already in their 2004 IPO prospectus. This ethos has underpinned Google's strategies and operations, influencing its approach to innovation and corporate responsibility​.

Over the years, Google has expanded beyond its core search engine, developing products like Android, Gmail, and Google Cloud, as well as acquiring companies such as YouTube and Nest. Today, Google, along with its other subsidiaries, is housed under Alphabet Inc., which was established as the parent company in 2015.

Jeff Bezos' Early Investment in Google

Jeff Bezos, known for founding Amazon and being one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, made a significant investment in Google just months after its inception. In 1998, he invested $250,000, demonstrating faith in the vision of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. This decision was based not on detailed business plans but on Bezos's belief in the founders' potential. When Google went public in 2004, Bezos's shares were worth over $280 million. Although he no longer holds this stake, it highlights his ability to identify and support innovative tech startups early on.

The Creation of Alphabet

The idea behind the creation of Alphabet was to house Google's diverse ventures under one umbrella, allowing these ventures to operate independently with their own CEOs. This structure enabled Google to focus more on its core businesses, search and advertising, while other projects like Waymo (autonomous cars), Calico (biotech), and Verily (healthcare) could be managed more efficiently as separate entities​.

Alphabet's business model relies heavily on online advertising, with Google Search being a significant contributor to its revenue. In Q4 2023, Google Search accounted for 56% of Alphabet's total revenue.

Further reading: The Rise of Google, Meta, Amazon, and Youtube in Advertising

The leadership structure at Alphabet has evolved over time. Initially led by Page as CEO and Brin as President, the company later saw Sundar Pichai, the then CEO of Google, assume the role of Alphabet's CEO in December 2019. Both Page and Brin remain involved with Alphabet as board members and controlling shareholders​.

Visualizing Alphabet's revenue and EBIT growth since 2001:

Two decades of Alphabet: Revenue and EBIT growth since 2001
Visualizing Alphabet's revenue and EBIT growth since 2001

Management Style

Sergey Brin and Larry Page's mission was ambitious yet clear: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Remarkably, by the year 2000, Google had already indexed over one billion internet URLs, establishing itself as the most comprehensive search engine almost instantaneously.

The role of CEO was initially held by Larry Page, whose management style was distinctively unconventional. Page documented his early management principles, which included:

  • 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.

These principles helped cultivate a culture where unconventional ideas were encouraged, setting the foundation for the transformative entity that Alphabet is today – one of the most successful companies in history.

In 2019, a significant transition occurred when Brin and Page announced their resignation from executive roles. Sundar Pichai, who had been serving as Google's CEO, stepped into the role of Alphabet's CEO. Nonetheless, Page and Brin have remained integral to the company, contributing as employees, board members, and controlling shareholders. This evolution from a garage in Menlo Park to the global headquarters known as the Googleplex symbolizes the tech giant's journey from a fledgling startup to a cornerstone of the tech industry.


Alphabet embodies the evolution of a simple search engine into a colossal tech conglomerate with a market cap of roughly $2 trillion as of April, 2024. From its humble beginnings in a Menlo Park garage to its current status as a leading global innovator, Alphabet has expanded significantly beyond its core search and advertising operations. The establishment of Alphabet allowed Google to sharpen its focus while fostering growth in diverse sectors like biotech and autonomous vehicles. Leadership transitions, including Sundar Pichai's ascent to CEO, reflect Alphabet's dynamic nature, while its foundational principles continue to guide its path.

Why are finance professionals around the world choosing Quartr Pro?

With a broad global customer base spanning from equity analysts, portfolio managers, to IR departments, the reasons naturally vary, but here are four that we often hear:

Increase productivity

Eliminate hours of searching for specific data points buried deep inside company material.

Get a one-stop-shop solution

Everything you need for qualitative public market research in one single platform.

Uncover rare insights

Understand the qualitative aspects of entire industries or specific companies.

Leverage the power of AI

Incorporate AI functionality into your daily workflow.