After a bunch of early speculation, it was announced last week that Google has acquired Aardvark. It didn't surprise me one bit that Google wanted to own Aardvark. Aardvark is completely awesome. And I am going to miss lending a hand in building this amazing company.
About a year and a half ago I first met with Max Ventilla, founder and CEO of Aardvark, to talk about his company. That meeting was on a Friday. And after the meeting I rushed to get Max and his co-founders (Rob Spiro, Nathan Stoll and Damon Horowitz) in to meet my partners the following Monday. My partners had the same reaction to Aardvark that I did -- love at first sight. And so we quickly gave the team a term sheet to fund their Series A. But we weren't alone. In the period of two weeks, Max and team managed to wrangle a handful of term sheets from fantastic firms.
Why was there so much excitement about what Aardvark was doing? As I've written before, Aardvark manages to solve a major problem with search today -- search quality is going down while the utility of social relationships in answering subjective questions is going up. By tapping your friends, Aardvark is able to get you better answers to the questions you are actually asking with less bias. That's awfully valuable, as Google well knew. And rather than let Aardvark chip away at their search dominance, Google decided to bring them into the fold.
But the brilliance of the Aardvark service wasn't the only reason Google bought the company. Aardvark had managed to amass one of the most impressive collections of talent around. As I've seen again and again, great teams attract great talent. The rich get richer. And Aardvark was a perfect example of that. The extraordinary talent in the company made it possible to bring on increasingly impressive entrepreneurs, technologists, Ph.D's, business people. By the time Google bought Aardvark, there were dozens of talented folks involved in the company. Now those dozens of talented people will add to the collective horsepower of Google.
Aardvark is a fantastic example of why the Venture business is so much fun. I have the great good fortune to work with some of the smartest folks on the planet building amazing technology that will literally change the world. As jobs go, it doesn't get much better than that. Watching Aardvark get acquired by Google at such a young age is a bit like sending your kids off to college -- you are excited for them and proud of all that they have accomplished, but you know that you'll miss the chance to play a bigger role in the amazing stuff that's yet to come.
Congratulations to the entire entire Aardvark team. I'll miss you. Good luck at Google U.