Leadership

This ex-Google employee says working at the tech giant helped inspire him to start his own business

Appboy CEO Bill Magnuson.
Appboy CEO Bill Magnuson.

Former Google engineer Bill Magnuson credits working at the tech giant with helping inspire him to become a CEO.

Magnuson tells CNBC Make It that his time at Google was "very valuable" and helped him launch his own company, Appboy, at age 23.

"Google brings engineering at a large scale. Incredible talent is there," says Magnuson, 28, who serves as Appboy's chief executive. "You can see the scale and impact of technology at work and its widespread impact."

While at Google from June 2009 to February 2010, Magnuson worked on App Inventor for Android, which allows those who are new to computer programming to create software applications for the Android operating system.

There, he helped universities unlock new opportunities in education by simplifying the complicated app development process on mobile.

Appboy, which will soon be renamed Braze, is a mobile marketing platform that manages phone applications for organizations by collecting data from consumers and brands. Magnuson says Appboy now has over one billion monthly active user profiles spanning more than 400 clients in 35 countries and recently received an additional $50 million in funding.

The companies can then use the data collected to send personalized messages directly to their consumers. Appboy works with some notable brands including Citi Global Cards, Domino's and Urban Outfitters.

Pedestrians pass in front of an Urban Outfitters store in New York.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Pedestrians pass in front of an Urban Outfitters store in New York.

Magnuson says that he always wanted to create his own business, even before joining Google.

"I always wanted to build something on my own but didn't have the financial capability to do so," he says. "Plus, I felt that I had a bit to learn."

So he worked at Google for a few months, picking up technical skills and insight about mobile technology.

The opportunity to create his own business in the mobile market soon presented itself at a New York City Hackathon event in 2011. There, he had a chance encounter with people who would eventually become fellow co-founders of Appboy.

"The timing was right," he says. "We have evolved alongside the mobile industry."

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