Tech giant Google is on a mission to track down world's hottest startups. Called Project Sand Hill, it has been 4 years now that Googler Suman Prasad and his team have been closely working with a number of venture capital firms to scout for startups who have great potential, but are still to burst off from their cocoons and develop into beautiful butterflies.

Once identified, Project Sand Hill plugs in the selected startups into the Google machine. It helps the selected ones by hooking them with Android Pay, allowing them to make use of any of the Google services they require, and help them build applications for Android Mobile phones.

Project Sand Hill was started by Prasad on a very small level in his Google "20 Percent Time", but it has since grown by leaps and bounds and achieved tremendous success. Prasad is now serving in the capacity of director of startups and VC partnerships, and under him the project is now serving an impressive 100 startups in the United States, and about 30 startups abroad in countries like India, China and Israel.

While Google does have its own venture capital arm, GV, but with Project Sand Hill it aims to come out with another way of keeping a track of the constantly changing tech market, and keep Google at the top of its innovation game.

Since nowadays the pace at which startups transform from being a small dream to a material company is increasing at blitzkrieg rate, Google wanted to partner with such companies even before they took off to take the sky.

As Google makes efforts to make a progression from being a Silicon Valley disruptor into corporate giant, it is constantly scouting for ways to keep itself relevant to the masses. According to experts, Alphabet is Google's one such effort in this very direction. While Alphabet is an effort of giving wings to Google's internal "moonshots", Project Sand Hill, on the other hand, is a way to remain as near to moonshots as possible on the outside. Many predict that this might be Google's path towards strategic acquisitions. In addition to this, it will also help Google maintain the profile of all of its popular and established technologies, such as Maps and Android. Such a thing is a common occurrence in the world of tech. Tech giant Apple has also launched a new accelerator in the India as a strategy to drive in new iOS applications in the country.

Current members of Project Sand Hill include fitness-focused company My Fitness Pal, last-minute hotel booking company Hotel Tonight, and ticketing platform Eventbrite. According to Google, since joining Project Sand Hill, eleven of its startup members have progressed to becoming unicorns- startups valuing over a billion dollars figure. In fact, about 50 percent the participating startups have been successful in raising an additional figure of $7.5 billion in funding.

Experts believe that the program will be most useful in countries like China and India, which have a huge population but are traditionally unfriendly to American technology companies.

Project Sand Hill helps its companies have a direct relationship and engagement with multiple product groups inside Google. This includes the teams of Google Play, Google Fit, and Android Wear. Not only this, they also get early access to Google's new developer tools and tips on Google ads optimisation.

[Top Image - Asif Islam /]

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