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From Google to Upstart

Nov 25, 2013   |   by Lisa Chau   |   U.S. News

Dave Girouard
Dave Girouard ’88 Th’89. Photograph courtesy of

Dave Girouard '88 Th'89 is founder and CEO of Upstart, a crowd funding platform that enables soon-to-be and recent college grads to raise capital in exchange for a small share of their future income over a five- or ten-year term.

Previously, Girouard was president of Google Enterprise. Over a span of eight years, he built Google's billion dollar cloud apps business worldwide, including product development, sales, marketing and customer support. He also worked as Senior Vice President of products and marketing at Virage, a pioneer in video search technology. Girouard started his career in software development with the Boston office of Accenture before moving to Silicon Valley to work as a product manager at Apple.

I had the opportunity to interview David Girouard.

Please tell me about Upstart and why you decided to leave Google to start the company.

Google is an amazing company and I had eight great years there, so it wasn't an easy decision. But Upstart was an idea that I couldn't get out of my head. Eventually, I decided that, as great as Google was, there was something more I wanted to do with my career. I'm a believer that you regret the things you don't do, more than the things you decide to do.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

What lessons did you learn at Google and apply at Upstart?

I learned that having an extraordinary team is the single most important predictor of success of a new venture. Google has been able to accomplish the unthinkable in its 15 years (cars that drive themselves?) because [CEO] Larry [Page] was committed very early on to hiring the best people in the world. I've taken that to heart, and the quality of the team at Upstart gives me a ton of confidence in our eventual success.

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