Friday, September 20, 2013

Semi-organic growth

One of Google's best acquisitions in its short history was completed in 2003, before the company went public. Google bought Applied Semantics, a developer of semantic text processing and online advertising technology. Applied Semantics' 45-person team became instrumental in building AdSense, a cornerstone of Google's paid advertising platform.

This successful "acqui-hire" imprinted in the minds of Google's senior management a form of corporate development that set the stage for many of Google's M&A transactions. Let's call this corp dev approach semi-organic growth, meaning Google acquires an external team/company and then skillfully attaches that team to a specific internal product area to accelerate the growth of that product.

For details on Google's use of semi-organic growth, as well as other key aspects of Google's M&A program, see my lecture given at Darden/University of Virgina --