Bret Taylor, the former Salesforce co-CEO, to launch new AI startup with Google veteran Clay Bavor

Bret Taylor, the former Salesforce co-CEO, to launch new AI startup with Google veteran Clay Bavor

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Former Salesforce Inc. co-Chief Executive Officer Bret Taylor (pictured) is teaming up with outgoing Google LLC Vice President Clay Bavor to create a new artificial intelligence startup.

The unnamed company will seek to apply AI to “some of the most important problems in business,” Taylor wrote in a LinkedIn post today. Bavor, who previously worked with Taylor at Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., said in a separate post that the new venture will launch in March once he leaves Google, with more details on its aims to be revealed at a later date.

Taylor, who was once considered as the most likely successor to Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, surprisingly announced his departure from the enterprise software giant in January, saying he would return to his “entrepreneurial roots” instead. He has founded several startups in the past that were later acquired by Salesforce and also Facebook Inc., now known as Meta Platforms Inc. In addition, he also served as chairman of the board at Twitter Inc., where he often kept the media updated throughout its drawn out acquisition by Elon Musk.

As for Bavor, he has spent most of his career at Google. He joined the company in 2005 and rose through its ranks, serving as a manager working on Gmail and Google Drive before stepping up to run the company’s virtual reality unit in 2015. During his tenure, Google released a lot of VR software and some gadgets, but its products never saw widespread adoption and the company has since retreated from that area.

In 2021, Bavor was tasked with heading up a new business unit within Google called Labs, which is an umbrella organization for various research projects the company is working on, including VR, blockchain and AI. It also houses Google’s startup incubator, Area 120, which was recently impacted by a wave of job cuts by Alphabet.

A spokesperform for Google told Bloomberg the company doesn’t plan to replace Bavor in his role as head of Labs. Instead, emerging technology projects within that organization will shift to Google’s Tech & Society unit, which is headed up by James Manyika, a senior vice president at Google. Meanwhile, augmented reality projects within Labs will now fall under the supervision of Google executives Rick Osterioh and Hiroshi Lockheimer, the company said.

Photo: Brian Solis/Wikimedia Commons

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