Bulletin, San Francisco, Sep 04, 2018

Google almost got acquired in 1999. For a little less than a million dollars!

Even though the story has been in circulation for quite some time, it is not common knowledge. Vinod Khosla (founder of Khosla Ventures) recalled the incident at the TechCrunch Disrupt[1] conference in San Francisco today, marking Google's 20 year anniversary (Google got incorporated on 04 September, 1998).

Google almost got acquired in 1999. For a little less than a million dollars

File photo: Larry Page and Sergey Brin

In 1999, Vinod Khosla served as a partner at Kleiner Perkins, backing the internet firm Excite (Excite was later acquired by Ask Jeeves Inc, which became Ask.com later). At the time, George Bell (CEO of Excite) rejected an offer by Larry Page and Sergey Brin who had offered to sell the search engine for $1 million!

Vinod Khosla even convinced Larry and Sergey to sell at roughly $750,000, but Mr Bell still declined.

Today, Google's market cap is roughly $167 billion. Talk about missed opportunities!

Two important lessons to be learnt here about the business of innovative products:

  1. Never underestimate yourself when you've built world-class technology
  2. Never turn down the option to invest in pathbreaking services

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  1. TechCrunch - Vinod Khosla recalls Google's near acquisition ↩︎