Google is finally making it official: Google for Entrepreneurs, spearheaded by Mary Grove, will be opening the next Google Campus in Madrid sometime before the end of June 2015. The news, leaked to the press this past weekend, was confirmed by Grove during an invite-only cocktail organised yesterday by Google for Entrepreneurs in the Spanish capital.
There has been rumours for some time, specially after Mary Grove and Sarah Drinkwater, the current head of Google London, organised a similar meetup over cocktails in Madrid in early July, but it wasn't until now that they've made it official.
Google has currently two Campuses, one in London and one in Tel Aviv. This year they've announced four more so far: Warsaw, Sao Paulo, Seoul and the recent addition of Madrid. They also sponsor and otherwise support similar spaces like Factory in Berlin and Numa in Paris.
During yesterday's event, Mary Grove stressed that the new four Campuses announced are the ones they'll open in 2015. It's more than probable that they don't intend on stopping there and new locations will be announced next year.
Grove emphasised during the event that Spain was a key country for Google as it was experiencing an incredible startup growth, but most importantly because it had an impressive smartphone penetration and mobile infrastructure: "Other countries should learn from Spain in that regard," she opined.
The big question was: why Madrid, and not Barcelona (home for the majority of Spain's startups)? We were told that the main reason is because the Google Spain office is located in Madrid and Campus is mostly run by volunteers from Google. That said, Google intends on having several people on the ground to run the Madrid Campus, including a head of Campus Madrid.
I did some research and while, they still have open positions for Campus Seoul and Campus Warsaw, it seems Madrid and Sao Paulo already have candidates and the position offers have been removed.
Who will those managers be? We're still digging to find out.
The location of Campus Madrid is also a big mystery. So far, rumours place it somewhere near Matadero Madrid, or even within Matadero Madrid. We asked the Google team and they said that while the location is still secret, Google has bought a whole building with four or five floors, with a similar structure to the one in London.
The building will have a café area, which will be available for free as non-dedicated co-working space with free WiFi. Then they'll probably have one or two floors of dedicated co-working space and then two other floors which will be the home of some lucky startup program. We heard of several potential candidates that are being interviewed currently but none have been confirmed.
We reached out to one of those organisations and here is what they had to say:
"Google insinuated something about counting with Google for space, but they never specified if it was only to run events there or to allow us to use the space to work out of the Campus building. They're being very cryptic and cautious about it. Either way, it's going to be great to have a Google Campus in Madrid".
According to what David Drummond, SVP of Corporate Development, shared with El Pais this past weekend, one of the goals of this new Campus, is to locate interesting projects to invest in through their newly launched $100 million Google Ventures fund for Europe. I asked the Google team yesterday about this but they denied Campus Madrid will hold anyone from Google Ventures Europe.
That said, Eze Vidra, one of the Google Ventures Europe partners, isn't precisely a stranger to Spain. He's fluent in Spanish and has been scouting the country for several years now. During last year's Spain Startup and Investor Summit, he met with several key players of the startup ecosystem in Spain to ask about the startup situation in the country and how could Google help.
Google Campus Madrid is at least one outcome.
All in all, this is great news for Spain and shows how Google keeps putting their money where their mouth is, making them one of the few corporations that strongly bet on entrepreneurship and Europe.
(All images credit to tech.eu)