Google, which is known for buying startups and then shutting them down, set a personal acquisition record last year.
In 2011, it acquired 25 companies—or 79 if you “count the firms acquired for patents and intellectual property,” writes The Verge’s Ben Popper.
By comparison, Facebook acquired 10 companies last year. Microsoft, Apple and Amazon each bought three.
This year, Google has acquired eleven startups. Most of the founders hang around until their options vest, and then leave to start new companies.
Why does Google bother? FirstMark Capital’s Lawrence Lenihan has a theory:
“I think the smaller deals work out really well for them on average,” he tells Popper. “If the product flops, they still keep a lot of talented engineers. It’s like downside protection. Those kind of great people at a platform like Google can generate millions of dollars in incremental profits when they find the right area.”
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