Alphabet is betting big on moonshots but so are startups

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If Google’s parent company Alphabet builds the future it envisions, we’ll be riding in self-driving cars, ordering food delivery via drones and living past the age of 100.

Alphabet is spending billions of dollars to find and develop the next big thing. After all, Google’s advertising business brought in $136 billion in revenue in 2018, giving it the cushion to lose $3.4 billion on its far-out projects last year.

Alphabet’s 14 companies work on everything from life extension and airborne wind energy to smart cities and cybersecurity. For investors looking to cash in on long-term technologies, Alphabet offers a wide-ranging window into what the future may look like.

“I understand why when people look at this from the outside they say it’s a little random. The bets seem disconnected and somewhat disjointed,” said Pascal Finette, chair of entrepreneurship and open innovation at Singularity University, which focuses on the future. “But if you peel back the layers, I think you can see how a lot of the pieces actually fit nicely together.”

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