We are pleased to bring you a new feature on InvestorPlace.com. Our Stock of the Week will explore a hot stock from all the angles — fundamental, technical, options, you name it. And we’ll dive deep into its industry to lay out the competitive landscape. This week we’ll be looking at search titan Google. Check back all week for more coverage — click on the icon below for our full roundup.
It’s hardly news that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has one heckuva huge footprint. Not only has its search engine become a verb, but it’s also the parent of a few products and services you might have heard of: Gmail, YouTube, Android, Nexus, Google Chrome, Google Analytics, Google Docs, Google Glass and oh-so-much more.
But Google hasn’t just bred an impressive array of products — it has been the stomping grounds for a multitude of talented personnel. Countless folks privileged enough to list Google on their resumes have since gone on to make their mark elsewhere, either by joining other big names in tech or starting their own companies.
Clearly, the $260 billion corporation is a popular and promising launching pad for Silicon Valley’s best and brightest.
So who ranks among Google’s top exports? Here’s a look at a handful of the company’s most noteworthy alums:
Marissa Mayer is perhaps the best-known Google grad. She was Google’s 20th employee and first female engineer, and worked her way up the ladder for more than a decade, eventually becoming vice president. Such search engine experience has served her well, too. Just last year, Mayer was named CEO of rival Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and has made quite a splash at the once-flailing behemoth.
Mayer has made several acquisitions, including DailyMotion — ironically called the YouTube of Europe. She also stirred up controversy when she banned employees from working remotely. But while you can argue strategy, it’s hard to argue with the results. Since coming onboard in July 2012, YHOO has climbed 55% and shares are still sitting at roughly five-year highs — a turnaround sharp enough to prompt The Fiscal Times to call her a “Surprise Wall Street Darling.”
Google also launched another high-profile female exec: Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. Mark Zuckerberg’s social media site hired Sandberg — then Google’s vice president of global online sales & operations — back in 2008, later appointing her to the company’s board after outcry grew regarding its all-male makeup.
Not only has Facebook been regaining ground after its botched IPO (shares have rebounded 39% in the past six months), but Sandberg has been using her position to encourage women in the workplace. She recently wrote a book called Lean In, which has dominated headlines in recent weeks.
That makes two of the biggest female tech names in the game, from one company.
While we’re on the subject of Facebook, a few more Google names come to mind. First up: Kevin Systrom. He worked at Google for two years, focusing on Gmail and the now-dead (but fondly remembered) Google Reader before moving on to join Nextstop — a startup founded by other Google alumni — then learning how to program. That eventually gave way to the launch of photo-sharing app Instagram, which Systrom co-founded … and which Facebook snatched up for a whopping $1 billion. Not too shabby.
Along the same lines, former Google employees Bret Taylor, Jim Norris, Paul Buchheit and Sanjeev Singh had similar success after leaving the search giant. Buchheit, for one, actually created Gmail and pioneered some of Google’s early advertising products. He then created social network aggregator FriendFeed, which was bought by Facebook just two years after it launched. In fact, FriendFeed was responsible for many of Facebook’s features we take for granted, including the “like” feature.
Social media site Pinterest also has Google in its lineage. Ben Silbermann began as an entry-level employee at the company’s display-advertising group and ended up kicking off the wildly popular interactive pin-board-style photo-sharing site.
Patrick Keane didn’t start a new company, but he’s helped plenty of others do so. After his four years at Google, Keane became CMO of CBS (NYSE:CBS) division CBS Interactive, then was CEO of Associated Content when Yahoo bought it for $100 million. He has also spent time funding and mentoring countless startups, with a spont on the board of BleacherReport, for one, along with website optimizer OnSwipe. More recently, Keane became President of Sharethrough, one of the world’s leading native advertising company.
Google has an eye for good talent as well.
The company bought Blogger, which was created by Evan Williams and had accumulated around 1 million users at the time of acquisition. Williams worked at Google for a few years after that, then left to kick off Obvious Corp. — a “startup incubator” responsible for companies like Medium Branch and Lift — and co-founded Twitter, which is expected to come public soon.
A similar story took place for Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert, who started location-based social networking software Dodgeball. Google bought up that company as well … but Crowley and Rainery weren’t huge fans of Google, so they departed less than two years after the acquisition, and Dodgeball was later shut down. However, the pair went on to create a second-version check-in app Foursquare, which has attracted more than 20 million users.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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