Tuesday, June 26, 2007

True Story #1 - The Best Angel Investment in History

"Instead of us discussing all the details, why don't I just write you a check"

- Andy Bechtolsheim to Google Founders when making the first Angel Investment

Unable to interest the major portal players of the day, Larry and Sergey decided to make a go of it on their own. All they needed was a little cash to move out of the dorm — and to pay off the credit cards they had maxed out buying a terabyte of memory. So they wrote up a business plan, put their Ph.D. plans on hold, and went looking for an angel investor.

Their first visit was with a friend of a faculty member. Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, was used to taking the long view. One look at their demo and he knew Google had potential — a lot of potential. But though his interest had been piqued, he was pressed for time.

As Sergey tells it, “We met him very early one morning on the porch of a Stanford faculty member’s home in Palo Alto. We gave him a quick demo. He had to run off somewhere, so he said, ‘Instead of us discussing all the details, why don’t I just write you a check?’ It was made out to Google Inc. and was for $100,000.”

The investment created a small dilemma. Since there was no legal entity known as “Google Inc.,” there was no way to deposit the check. It sat in Larry’s desk drawer for a couple of weeks while he and Sergey scrambled to set up a corporation.


ViaBuzz said...

Key to this whole story is focus on your business plan and your surroundings. I'd love to have seen what their business plan looked like way back then. Great success story.

Rich Swier said...

Yep - a lot of lessons to learn here. The first one is you need to network. They would have never hooked up with Andy if it wasn't for their professor at Standford. The other lesson is to have something simple but groundbreaking (it didn't hurt these guys were PH.d's either)