Project meeting

Google’s first employee, Craig Silverstein, leaves for a new venture

Google’s first employee, Craig Silverstein, is leaving the search engine giant where he’s worked since its conception to begin life with the rising education start-up Khan Academy.

Craig, who was theoretically Google’s third employee, after co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, was instrumental in creating the search engine that has built Google into one of the world’s leading tech companies. Google’s search engine was the first product of its kind and is still its most widely used.

Silverstein’s departure was first reported as a rumour on Wednesday 8th February in an online newsletter produced by EdSurge, an education tech news site. On Thursday, the tech news site AllThingsD confirmed the departure.

Officials at Google and the Khan Academy weren’t available for comment, though Khan Academy employee John Resig wrote on Twitter: “Really excited to be working with Craig Silverstein, Google Employee #1. He’s joining us at Khan Academy.”

Khan Academy is a non-profit start-up in Mountain View, California, USA (where Google is also based). The academy produces online videos, exercises and testing materials in a bid to educate students in maths, science, humanities and finance in countries where educational resources aren’t widely available.

“Silverstein worked side by side with the founders to establish Google’s distinct culture and wrote his fair share of the nascent search engine’s base code”.  “As Google’s first employee, his net worth has been estimated somewhere in the region of £500 million.”

Silverstein has previously said that he felt a lot of Google’s success was due to luck.

“I guess what I’m most proud of is successfully keeping the culture as well as we have, given all the success and growth that we’ve had”. “I’m proud of that. We haven’t done things perfectly, but we’ve done a lot better than I ever thought we would.”

Google emailed a statement confirming Silverstein’s departure from the company:

“Craig’s been with Google since the early days. He was instrumental in the development of search and made numerous contributions to Google over the years. We wish him all the best at the Khan Academy and know that he will do great things to help them promote education around the world.”

Shantanu Sinha, the president and COO of Khan Academy, also emailed a statement on the group’s latest member, saying:

“We are thrilled to have Craig Silverstein join our team. His deep technical knowledge and organisation-building experience will be extremely valuable to us as we grow as an organisation. We are excited that talented individuals like Craig believe so passionately in our mission and are willing to join us in our quest of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere.”