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Behind the scenes with startup founders at Google Demo Day

Behind the scenes with startup founders at Google Demo Day

Companies all over the world—not just in Silicon Valley—are thinking up their next big idea. Working on the Google for Entrepreneurs team, we see these passionate founders building innovative companies in their hometowns. Google for Entrepreneurs provides financial support and the best of Google’s resources to dozens of coworking spaces and community programs across 125 countries. We also create Campuses—physical hubs where entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and build companies—and put on events like Google Demo Day.

Demo Day, which just happened in San Francisco on March 28th, brought startups from across the Americas to San Francisco, to pitch and connect with leading investors, to grow and accelerate their businesses. Startups that have pitched at previous Google Demo Days have raised over $259M and ten have been acquired by global companies.

This year’s “Judge’s Favorites,” Increase and Shearshare, each received $250,000 investment from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. In addition, Revolution committed $150,000 to each of the other nine participating startups, provided that the startups each raise $1 million in the next six months.

To hear about the Demo Day experience, startup life, and more, we went behind the scenes with a few of this year’s female-led companies based in the U.S.

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Courtney Caldwell

COO and Co-founder of ShearShare (McKinney, Texas), the first B2B mobile platform that lets stylists rent daily workspace in cities all over the world.

Q: What was your inspiration for your company?

A: We were tired of hearing about our fellow salon and barbershop owners having to close down because they couldn’t cover the overhead. We want to keep salons and barbershops at full capacity year round and give stylists the opportunity to manage their business on their terms, paying for space when and where they need it.

Q: Tell us about your experience at Demo Day.

A: Google made each of my fellow founders feel like rockstars! My favorite parts were the mindfulness and mentoring sessions with Ginny Bown, our pitch coach. Co-winning Google Demo Day 2018, alongside our Argentinian friends at Increase, will forever change ShearShare’s trajectory. We are now funded by some of the most genuine, most intelligent, and swagalicious VCs in the Valley, so it’s time to get to work!  

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Neha Singh

Founder and CEO of Obsess, (New York, New York) an AR and VR platform for mobile commerce.
Q: What was your inspiration for your company?

A: I’m a geek who loves fashion. I believe that fashion is one of the fundamental forms of self-expression and the most practical form of art. At Obsess, we’re building the platform to enable any brand—big or small—to take advantage of this new technology, and to showcase their products in a way that wasn’t possible to do online before.

Q: Tell us about your experience at Demo Day.

A: My favorite part was meeting the other incredible 10 startups and their founders. I was so inspired and so humbled by this genius group of people taking on big challenges.

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Heather Holmes

CEO of Genivity (Chicago, Illinois), an AI platform that personalizes future health and elder care costs to help financial professionals better serve their clients.

Q: What was your inspiration for your company?

Health and elder care expenses are the number one threat to retirement savings and one of the most important, yet often ignored, parts of a financial plan. When a close relative was hospitalized in 2010 and nearly died, I realized that if my family had known about his specific health threats, they might have been able to prevent his health crisis. It sparked my belief that creating relationships with the key people in my parent’s financial lives was critical so my family would have a place to turn to for help.

Q: Tell us about your experience at Demo Day.

The caliber of companies and founders was incredibly inspiring and impressive! I’ve walked away from Google Demo Day with new friends, new ideas, and two new potential partnerships.  It’s amazing what Google helped make happen in a few short days!

Supporting entrepreneurs

Google Demo Day is just one example of how we support entrepreneurs. We make a collection of resources available at startup.google.com—everything from best practices for getting your business up and running, to how to raise funds and hire the right team. Startup with Google is a resource from our Grow with Google initiative, which is aimed at helping people and entrepreneurs across the United States grow their skills, careers, and businesses by offering free tools, training, and events.

Our hats go off to these inspiring founders. We hope to catalyze similar opportunities for this event’s featured founders—and many more female entrepreneurs to come.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Entrepreneurs

Ready, set, pitch: Demo Day Asia

With Sundar, our CEO, visiting People Squared in Beijing today.

Today at People Squared, a Google for Entrepreneurs partner hub in Beijing, our CEO Sundar Pichai announced that we would hold Google’s first ever Demo Day Asia in Shanghai this year. Since 2014, Google for Entrepreneurs has organized Demo Days in the United States and Europe for outstanding startups to connect with investors and scale globally. Businesses that have pitched at Demo Days have raised $259 million. Now it’s time for Asia’s startups to shine.

Demo Day Asia in Shanghai will be the first time Google brings together entrepreneurs from the region, helping them pitch to top investment and venture capital firms. There are also opportunities for founders of shortlisted startups to get mentored by Google executives and access Google for Entrepreneurs global partner network. China is a great location for this event as investment activity and the startup ecosystem are booming.

Among those Chinese startups is Castbox, a podcast app that customizes listening experiences by surfacing personalized recommendations and enabling people to search for words within audio content. Two years ago, Castbox delivered a great pitch at a Demo Day in Mountain View, CA, and was crowned as the “Judges’ Favorite.” It went on to raise almost $13 million in funding and grew from 3 million to 15 million users.  

There are lots of impressive startups, like Castbox, in Asia. But the continent is vast and more success stories are waiting to happen in every corner. They just need a stage. With Demo Day Asia, we hope to shine a spotlight on the next great tech champion of the region. Founders can stay tuned for upcoming details on Demo Day Asia on our site.

If you’re a founder and unable to make it this time for Demo Day Asia, you can still tap into our existing support for startups worldwide. In Asia, we support tech founders through our network of partners, our Campus space for startups in Seoul and accelerator programs like Google Developers Launchpad. You can also find out more about how our products can help you build your startup here.

Innovation can come from anywhere. We hope Demo Day Asia brings great ideas from the region to the world and we’re incredibly excited to start the search for the next great Asian startup.  

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Entrepreneurs, Google in Asia

Looking for Europe’s top entrepreneurs: The 2018 Digital Top 50 Awards

Tech entrepreneurs are changing the world through their own creativity and passion. To celebrate Europe’s thriving entrepreneurial scene and honor the most promising tech companies, in 2016 we founded the Digital Top 50 Awards, in association with McKinsey and Rocket Internet. The 2018 edition of the awards are now open for applications.

Now in their second year, the awards are organized, once again, under the patronage of Mr. Carlos Moedas, Member of the European Commission, and supported by strategic partners INSEAD, Ashoka and Tech Open Air. Companies with a digital product or service from the EU and from EFTA countries can apply on the Digital Top 50 website until April 1, 2018.

All top 50 companies will receive free tickets and showcase space at Tech Open Berlin on June 20-21 2018, where the final winners in each category will be announced. The winner in the Tech for Social Impact category will be granted a cash prize of 50,000 euros, and all five winners will be provided with support from the founding partners to scale their businesses further—through leading professional advice, structured consulting and coaching programs, as well as access to a huge network of relevant industry contacts.

 

Helping people embrace new digital opportunities is at the heart of our Grow with Google initiative in Europe. With the DT50 awards, we hope to recognize a new generation of entrepreneurs, and help them grow further and realize their dreams.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Entrepreneurs, Google in Europe
Celebrating five years at Campus Tel Aviv (and many more to go)

Celebrating five years at Campus Tel Aviv (and many more to go)

Five years ago Campus Tel Aviv opened its doors. It’s a hub to support Israel’s strong and growing startup community, where entrepreneurs from different walks of life and at different stages of their journey can come together to learn, share and connect.  

And connect they have. Our members have hosted over 3,200 events with more than 250,000 participants, met with distinguished guests including the President and Prime Minister of Israel, and used Campus as a platform to empower their own communities and build ambitious new companies.

Startups like Syte.AI, SaferVPN and Veed.me have come to Campus to learn from Googlers and get help taking their businesses global. Tal Gadot, Omer Kenet and Tomer Mesika of RapidUI joined Tel Aviv’s Campus Experts Summit in 2017. They sought help to launch their website builder and, after two weeks of working with Google mentors from the U.S., they decided to change their positioning and shift the focus of their go-to-market strategy, with great success.

We’ve worked hard over the last five years to support underrepresented entrepreneurs and create a more inclusive startup ecosystem. For example, women make up around 40 percent of participants in our education programs and we heard from many women who were on maternity leave that they would love to fulfill their dream of starting a business. So we created Campus for Moms, where mothers can bring their babies to work. We’ve expanded this program to our fellow Campuses in London, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Madrid and Warsaw. We’ve also helped support other community programs through marketing, free space and mentoring, such as She Codes, a women’s coding bootcamp, which has grown from 10 members to more than 16,000.

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A participant of the Campus for Moms program takes part in a mentoring session.

We also created APPlicable, a program that helps startups make their mobile apps more accessible to people with disabilities. We connected more than 50 startups with groups of people with disabilities, who tested the app and provided feedback on the app’s accessibility. Through this program, a product lead at Fiverr realized how parts of their app were difficult to navigate using voice-over and incorporated recommendations from a tester. We’re looking forward to bringing the APPlicable program and our learnings to our other Campuses around the world in the coming months.

Nearly every day we hear about Israeli entrepreneurs building exciting new technologies that can have a positive impact on the world. We’ll continue to support the startup community in Israel; later this year Campus Tel Aviv is moving to a larger location, and we’re also bringing on board a Head of Campus to lead our efforts there. I’m also excited to lead a number of new programs, both at our expanded space and globally.

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of our journey so far! Here’s to the next five years, and the great stories and successful companies that we’ll create together.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Entrepreneurs, Google in Europe
Google Demo Day: shining a light on European founders

Google Demo Day: shining a light on European founders

Yesterday, founders from across Europe took to the stage at our King’s Cross office to showcase problem-solving startups at our first-ever London Demo Day. From feedback tools for managers to fertility trackers for women, the diversity of companies and talent demonstrated something we already knew: The European startup scene is thriving and gaining global recognition, with nearly 300 venture-backed businesses going public or getting acquired just last year. But it’s often still hard for entrepreneurs to gain visibility and raise funds to support their growing ventures—which is why we brought Google Demo Day to London this year.

For yesterday’s event, 10 investment-ready startups were chosen from dozens of startups nominated by our Google for Entrepreneurs network of startup community partners and via our Campus spaces, and 100+ others who applied through an open call. The 10 startups each had four minutes to pitch their product, business and team to a room full of the region’s top investors, with hundreds more watching over live stream. Meet our line-up:

  • AsaDuru, from Stockholm, creates self-sufficient green homes in Africa that incorporate solar energy, rainwater harvesting, and wastewater treatment.
  • Connecterra (Amsterdam) combines machine learning with sensor data to increase productivity in the dairy farm industry.
  • Divido (London) lets customers spread the cost of any purchase over a period of time while the merchant gets paid in full right away.
  • Kenzen (Zurich) provides a new way to monitor the health of athletes and medical patients to through real-time analysis of sweat.
  • Kompyte (Barcelona) provides marketers with real-time alerts when competitors make changes to their websites, products, and digital marketing campaigns.
  • Motivii (London) allows managers to better understand their teams’ performance through a feedback and tracking platform.
  • Nordigen (Riga) uses big data to help banks make smarter decisions about credit scores.
  • WOOM (Madrid) helps women maximize the chances of pregnancy with a data-driven digital platform.
  • XapiX (Berlin) makes it easy for developers to discover, combine and consume data from multiple API providers.
  • Zzish (London) provides tools for developers to create, distribute and monetize education apps for teachers and classrooms.

After much deliberation, our audience of investors and European tech leaders crowned Connecterra, the machine learning technology for dairy farmers, as the People’s Choice. Kenzen won the Judges’ Favorite based on the strength of their business model, their team, and their products.

Kenzen endeavors to transform healthcare. We’re thrilled to receive the Google Demo Day Judges’ Favorite award for our Echo Patch platform.

Heidi Lehmann

Chief Commercial Officer, Kenzen

London’s Demo Day builds on our existing support for startups worldwide, beginning with the launch of Google for Entrepreneurs five years ago. In Europe, we support tech founders through our network of partners, our Campus spaces for startups in London, Madrid and Warsaw (our next location set to open in Berlin), accelerator programs like Google Developers Launchpad, and Digital Skills training programs. “London has become one of the world centers for startups; it was the first location for Google Campus. I’m excited by the innovation in the teams Google has uncovered,” said judge Saul Klein from LocalGlobe, who was joined on the judging panel by Fred Destin of EX-ACCEL and Aurore Belfrage from EQT Ventures.

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Left to Right: Sonia Sousa, CEO and co-founder, and Heidi Lehmann, CCO of Kenzen, took home the Judge’s Favorite award.

Startups who have pitched at previous Google Demo Days in Silicon Valley have raised more than $121 million to fund the growth of their companies, often based on connections made at the event. We hope to catalyze similar opportunities for this event’s featured founders—and many more European entrepreneurs to come.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Entrepreneurs, Google in Europe