When Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin spoke to my colleagues at Stanford’s technology licensing office in the late 1990s, other search engines already existed. But Page and Brin, who were graduate students at the time, believed the page-rank algorithm they had developed at Stanford was superior, even though no other entrepreneurs saw its potential. So they decided to launch a start-up. The Stanford licensing office saw merit in their idea and licensed the algorithm — which was owned by the University — back to the entrepreneurs. The rest is history.
By Katharine Ku