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Democracy Activist Wael Ghonim Joins Google Ventures

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    CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 08: Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim greets thousands of anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square on February 8, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Ghonim was released by police yesterday after nearly two weeks in custody. He has acknowledged that he was the anonymous administrator of the Facebook page that sparked the protests in Egypt. Thousands of demonstrators continue to occupy the square, demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who became a leader of the Egyptian revolution in 2010, is now part of Google Ventures.

    Ghonim, after he came back from Egypt, started secretly working at Google Ventures last year, but is now an entrepreneur-in-residence, according to Fortune. Apparently his previously position was hush-hush because of "visa issues" and Google Ventures head Bill Maris didn't give out details on the job. 

    Before the Arab Spring in 2010, Ghonim was a marketing exec for Google in the Middle East. Ghonim declined to be interviewed by Fortune on his activism or his new position.

    "He's really trying to move his life forward," Maris told Fortune. Maris said that Ghonim isn't interested in talking about his past in Egypt, but Maris did say that he contacted him about Google's venture business. Through video conference calls, the two established a rapport and Maris asked him to come aboard.

    "He isn't a seasoned entrepreneur, so spending time with us and learning from the companies we have invested in and from the team itself, is a great way for him to get a head start," Maris said. "If he started on his own he would be in a much worse place."
    Maris said that Google Ventures hasn't poured any money into Ghonim's project. In 2011, Ghonim took a break from Google to work with an NGO fighting poverty and educating young Egyptians.
    Google Ventures is also adding two other entrepreneurs: Anish Acharya, co-founder of SocialDeck which Google bought in 2010, and Chikai Ohazama, co-founder of Keyhole, which Google bought in 2004.
    The idea that Google brought on two other entrepreneurs who sold to Google to join Google Ventures could lead the reader to believe that Ghonim's plan is to create a successful startup for Google -- perhaps having to do with his previous work -- and have Google acquire it.