Google’s Former CFO Is Returning To Oxford To Mentor Startups


Patrick Pichette, chief financial officer of Google Inc., speaks during an Economic Club of Canada event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. Google Inc., owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, said increased queries for cars and travel and fewer coupon searches suggest the U.S. economy is improving. Photographer: Norm Betts/BloombergBLOOMBERG NEWS

Patrick Pichette, a graduate of Oxford University’s famous PPE course and Google’s former chief financial officer, is getting involved in a new startup incubator at Oxford called The Creative Destruction Lab.

As one of the Oxford lab’s three founding partners, Pichette will offer budding academic entrepreneurs coaching and mentoring.

Launched at the University of Toronto by Ajay Agrawal in 2012, The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a seed-stage program for scalable, science-based companies. 

The CDL at Oxford, which kicks off this September, will aim to help UK and European founders commercialise their ideas and grow their businesses. It will start by focusing on artificial intelligence companies.

AI experts like Geoff Hinton, Nick Bostrom, and William Tunstall-Pedoe have all offered mentoring to students on CDL programs. 

Since leaving Google in 2015, Pichette has become a venture capital investor at Inovia Capital, where he’s a general partner. He’s now looking to back the next Google’s of the world. Earlier this month, Pichette told media that Europe has the potential to build these $100 billion businesses. 

Pichette is also the incoming chairman of Oxford Sciences Innovation, an organisation that aims to take Oxford’s best ideas to the world. The organisation is investing over £580 million the math, physical, life sciences, medical sciences, computer sciences and engineering divisions of Oxford University. It’s being funded in part by Google’s venture capital arm, Google Ventures, or GV as it’s known today. 

Professor Peter Tufano, Dean of Saïd Business School, said: “With CDL we are taking the next step to support world-class scientific research and innovation across the UK and Europe. This programme helps business and technical founders overcome the challenges of developing early-stage ventures into large-scale profitable organisations, by providing outstanding guidance on mission-critical aspects such as developing a commercial strategy, hiring the right people, and securing funding.”

Chris Skidmore, the UK Science and Innovation Minister, added: ”The opportunities of artificial intelligence are endless and current innovations are already having a profound effect on our lives – from having a personal assistant on your mobile phone to websites suggesting new films you’d be interested in.

“In our modern Industrial Strategy, we have recognised the value AI can add to our economy, creating the high skilled jobs of the future and boosting our productivity in every part of the UK. This innovative Hub – the first in Europe – will help our start-ups get the support they need to take their ideas to market and scale up their businesses.”

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