Google recently announced that a new Google Campus will be coming to Madrid, Spain to engage the Spanish startup community and provide resources for entrepreneurs.
Incubated in a California garage with all the necessary ingredients, Google's story has become the narrative framework for many aspiring Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
To pay back some of that startup success, Google has been working closely with other startups through its Google for Entrepreneurs program. As part of that, Google maintains physical "campuses," which are spaces for support and collaboration. So far, they have launched campuses in London and Tel Aviv.
Now, Google is extending its European reach even further. According to a post on the Google Europe blog, Google is bringing a campus to Madrid, Spain. Mary Groves, the director of Google for Entrepreneurs, gave three reasons why Google selected Madrid for its next campus:
- The density of the existing startup community and talent pool
- The opportunity for startups from these cities to go global and serve a global market
- Our local Google presence, which will enable us to bring Google teams to the Campus community as mentors, speakers, and to be actively engaged.
Residents of the Campus in Madrid get access to Google mentors through an Office Hours program, as well as access to programs such as Campus for Moms and CampusEDU. Mentors can come from the local community or from Google. Groves said that, so far, they've covered issues such as marketing, design, product, UX, legal, and analytics at the London and Tel Aviv campuses.
Groves also mentioned that the Google Campus in Madrid will be partnering with local organizations in its community, much like what has been done at Campus London, where local educational partners and accelerators help entrepreneurs and a local coffee shop runs the café.
The announcement is the latest in a series of moves Google has made into Europe, despite growing tensions between Google and various European governments over the "right to be forgotten." In July, Google Ventures launched a $100 million fund focused on European entrepreneurs. Later, in September, Google unveiled its plans to open a data center in the Netherlands.
According to the blog post, the London campus startups raised more that 34 million British pounds in 2013, roughly $55 million USD. Although it is unclear how Google can capitalize on that fundraising, it's a good sign for the Campus program.
Investing in startups has become common practice for large technology companies. Companies like Salesforce and Citrix run their own investment arms and incubator programs. Google operate Google Ventures to fund seed stage, mid stage, and growth companies. It is also the fund through which it partners with programs like Startup Weekend. In addition, Google also operates a growth equity fund called Google Capital.
Suranga Chandratillake, general partner with Balderton Capital in London, said that Google can definitely be successful with its campuses, but it will need more than just money and real estate -- it will need to export its people too.
"Although still early, Google's efforts with the campuses will have an impact," Chandratillake said. "It's not about the physical space nor the other infrastructural elements - these already exist at the many accelerators that Europe has - but the broader mentality of innovation and entrepreneurialism that Google may be able to import from the Bay Area."
Google also recently announced that campuses are coming to Warsaw, Poland; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Seoul, South Korea. Users have access to the Campus Exchange Program that allows them to work from other campuses to gain new insights and vision.
"Our vision for the 6 Campuses (these 4 along with London and Tel Aviv) is to knit together a global network and provide the ability for entrepreneurs from any Campus to work from the other spaces and access the global community," Groves said. "Madrid is the epicenter of business in Spain and we know that one out of 4 new businesses in Spain is born in Madrid."
Campus Madrid, along with the other new Google Campuses, is set to open sometime next year. Groves said the success of the campuses will be measured by the success of the startups who use it.