Google is preparing its own in-house startup incubator, according to a new report from The Information.
According to sources, Google will soon launch “Area 120,” which will be helmed by Google executives Don Harrison and Bradley Horowitz. Teams within Google must pitch ideas for inclusion in Area 120, just as they would any other incubator.
If accepted, those teams would then begin work full-time on their pitches. They can also present pitches for more funding, or create a new company for Google to invest in.
As you may have guessed, the ‘120’ in Area 120 is a homage to Google’s famed ’20 percent time,’ which asks that employees spend one-fifth of their working hours on projects that excite them.
Gmail and AdSense both came of 20 percent time, so Google may be looking for the next internal home-run from Area 120.
Reports also indicate Area 120 will be physically separate from Google’s Mountain View campus, instead occupying space in one of Google’s San Francisco offices.
Interestingly, the report pins Area 120 to Google — not its parent company, Alphabet.
There are also questions left unanswered, here. We don’t know if Google or Google Ventures will be investing, or if successful spin-offs will be offered a place at Alphabet’s table rather fall under the Google umbrella.
The Information claims this is a measure to keep talent from jumping ship — but that can’t be the whole story; it seems as though Google or Alphabet also want dibs on what their employees may be dreaming up.