Big shoutout to Google Maps for getting me around rural Wisconsin this weekend. So impressed by how much mapping and verbal directions have improved over the years. What’s especially useful is that they tell you how many miles (or feet) you will be on a particular route – it’s both reassuring and convenient – particularly when you’re on backroads with strange names like County YY.
But now, I’ve discovered a new Google project that is even more impressive: Project Sand Hill. This is a side project developed by Suman Prasad in his Google “20 Percent Time.” He and his team work with various Silicon Valley VCs to identify and partner with “rocketship” startups. The advantages to Google are many – but most importantly – these partnerships keep the company on the forefront of innovation and technology. Things move so fast in tech that to fall behind is easy – and frequently deadly!
Project Sand Hill is currently working with over 130 startups in the US as well as in India, Israel and China. Eleven of the startups have become “unicorns” – i.e. valued at over $1billion – including Eventbrite, Houzz and Lyft.
Another important takeaway: When you’re a giant, like Google, you have to work extra hard to stay ahead of the curve. Relationships and partnerships with startups and other up-and-coming brands will keep you more tapped in to what’s next.
Link to Wired’s excellent article, here.