Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.
Photograph by David Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Hilary Brueck
April 25, 2016

Google may be trying to get more of its staff to stick around with the company a little longer, hoping to keep startup ideas in-house and encourage current employees to pursue concepts with the Internet giant’s help.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is reportedly launching a new startup incubator called “Area 120,” where employees will be able to apply to work on their own startup ideas full-time, The Information first reported.

Employees will pitch their ideas to Google’s vice president of corporate development, Don Harrison, and vice president of streams, photos and sharing, Bradley Horowitz, who both spoke about the new plan during a recent all-hands meeting, The Information added.

Google did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment about the project.

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The new “Area 120” name is play on the company’s 20 percent formula, which lets employees work on their own creative business projects 20 percent of the time. The new deal would bump that one-fifth promise up to a full-time gig.

Over the years, former Googlers have gone on to create some of the biggest household names in the startup world. There was Evan Williams, who worked briefly at the company before he went on to create both Twitter and Medium. Kevin Systrom joined Google right out of college and spent two years there before moving on to eventually found Instagram. Justin Rosenstein dropped out of college to join Google, but later left and eventually co-founded the software company Asana.

Google is trying to sell Boston Dynamics. Watch:

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported first quarter earnings last week, matching expectations by raking in $20.3 billion in revenue. But losses on some of Alphabet’s so-called “other bets” (a.k.a. not search advertising) like connected homes and self-driving cars disappointed analysts.

Still, it appears Google could be readying to take a crack at keeping more Silicon Valley tech startups at home, even as venture capitalists grow more cautious about funding these same kinds of young ventures.


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