Tag Archives: Entrepreneurs

How an underdog Fresno startup finds local talent

One thing about building a business that no one ever tells you: your company’s culture is set in stone by the time you hire your tenth employee. Who you hire largely determines your ability to succeed; a recent study found 65 percent of startups fail due to people-related reasons. No pressure, right? 

We're Bitwise Industries, a Central California startup driving economic growth despite being far from the streets of Los Angeles and the high-tech workspaces of the Bay Area. Bitwise taps into the “human potential” of our hometown of Fresno in three key ways: teaching digital skills at our coding school, renovating buildings to provide physical spaces for more than 200 startups and hiring local tech talent at our custom software development firm. 

After five years and more than 125 hires, we have a 90 percent retention rate and a team that is as diverse as Fresno itself: 40 percent women, 50 percent people of color and 20 percent first-generation Americans. We’ve trained more than 4000 local people to code and created more than 1000 jobs, yet the question we get asked most during this period of very fast growth is: "How do you find talent to hire?"

We built our company largely by using free tools (like Google Analytics), by borrowing resources (transforming abandoned buildings into coworking spaces) and by tapping into a nontraditional talent pool (30 percent of the population of Fresno lives below the poverty level). To say we are underdogs is an understatement. So getting things like hiring right doesn’t just fit nicely on a bumper sticker; it’s crucial to the survival of our business. 

If you’re an underdog like us, here’s my advice for how to find great talent in unexpected places.

Take a little extra time. 

The world would have you believe that all the most talented people are already locked up in great jobs. This is categorically false. The more people we teach, the more talent grows. When you look for nontraditional people from nontraditional places and you take an honest bet on them, the idea of any “talent war” goes away.

Have their back, and make sure they know it. 

Your employees have to know you have their backs. Most of them could work anywhere, and they choose to work for you, so treat that like the gift it is. Do that right, and they’ll have your back, too.

When you hire, make sure you’d be willing to stand up for this person in a fight. At the end of a grueling and disappointing period of time, or when mistakes get made, you have to be willing to go to bat for your people. 

Understand that diversity is great for business. 

Inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also a smart business move. The wide-ranging points of view that employees of diverse backgrounds contribute allows a business to attack complex, fast-moving problems from a variety of angles. Cultivate a team that’s up for the challenge.

Partner up.

While founders wear many hats, you simply can’t do everything yourself. Collaborate with like-minded people and organizations to amplify the efforts—like training diverse talent—that really matter to you and reach the people you may want to hire. 

Bitwise Industries is excited to work with Google to create even more opportunities in and beyond Central California. We’re partnering with Grow with Google to provide workshops, resources and trainings related to online marketing, data science, design and more. We’re also teaming up with Google for Startups to offer scholarships for our new six-month founders’ development program, intended to help aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds create product-driven, revenue-generating companies. It’s great to know that Google is as invested in us as founders, like we at Bitwise are invested in the people of “underdog” cities like Fresno. Great talent can—and does—come from anywhere.

Build security into your next website

Posted by Ben Fried, VP, CIO & Chief Domains Enthusiast

If you wanted to send a secret message by mail, would you rather send it in an envelope, or on a postcard? If you send it on a postcard, anyone who saw the postcard on its way to the recipient could read the message, or even make changes to what’s written.

Encryption on a website functions like an envelope, protecting information passed between your website and its visitors so it can’t be snooped on or changed. It’s what keeps your visitors safe from bad actors who may try to alter your site’s content, misdirect traffic, spy on open Wi-Fi networks, and inject malware or tracking. You achieve encryption on a website by installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This certificate ensures that the data passed between a web server and a browser remains private.

To kick off National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’re highlighting something that many website owners don’t realize—a single page that isn’t encrypted could potentially be used to gain access to the rest of the website. To avoid this, you need encryption on your entire website, not just for pages that are collecting credit card numbers or log-in info. Even unencrypted landing pages that redirect to an HTTPS page can pose risks. A single unprotected page can become a backdoor for bad actors to snoop on the rest of the site. How do you ensure your entire website is encrypted?

Use a top-level domain that is HSTS preloaded.

The HSTS preload list tells modern browsers which websites to only load over an encrypted connection. The fastest way to get on this list is to use a top-level domain that’s already on the HSTS preload list, such as .app, .dev, or .page. Any website on those extensions gets the security benefits of HSTS preloading from day one, so all you need to do is install your SSL certificate.

Add your website to the HSTS preload list yourself.

Websites can be individually added to the HSTS preload list by the website owner at hstspreload.org. Keep in mind this can be a slow process because the list is manually built into the browser. That means updates to the list are made as new browser releases come out, which can take months to occur for all browsers.

More people are creating websites than ever before, with 48 percent of the U.S. population planning to create one. To help make building your secure website a bit easier, we’ve teamed up with some of our registrar partners, who are offering a discount on .dev, .app, and .page domains plus free SSL certificates during the month of October. We’re also kicking off a video series where existing creators will share their tips for launching a website. You can check them out at safe.page/buildsecurely.

Stephanie Duchesneau, Domains Security Expert, explains the importance of website encryption and the benefits of HSTS-preloading.

Build security into your next website

If you wanted to send a secret message by mail, would you rather send it in an envelope, or on a postcard? If you send it on a postcard, anyone who saw the postcard on its way to the recipient could read the message, or even make changes to what’s written.

Encryption on a website functions like an envelope, protecting information passed between your website and its visitors so it can’t be snooped on or changed. It’s what keeps your visitors safe from bad actors who may try to alter your site’s content, misdirect traffic, spy on open Wi-Fi networks, and inject malware or tracking. You achieve encryption on a website by installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This certificate ensures that the data passed between a web server and a browser remains private.

To kick off National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’re highlighting something that many website owners don’t realize—a single page that isn’t encrypted could potentially be used to gain access to the rest of the website. To avoid this, you need encryption on your entire website, not just for pages that are collecting credit card numbers or log-in info. Even unencrypted landing pages that redirect to an HTTPS page can pose risks. A single unprotected page can become a backdoor for bad actors to snoop on the rest of the site. How do you ensure your entire website is encrypted?

Use a top-level domain that is HSTS preloaded.

The HSTS preload list tells modern browsers which websites  to only load over an encrypted connection. The fastest way to get on this list is to use a top-level domain that’s already on the HSTS preload list, such as .app, .dev, or .page. Any website on those extensions gets the security benefits of HSTS preloading from day one, so all you need to do is install your SSL certificate.

Add your website to the HSTS preload list yourself.

Websites can be individually added to the HSTS preload list by the website owner at hstspreload.org. Keep in mind this can be a slow process because the list is manually built into the browser. That means updates to the list are made as new browser releases come out, which can take months to occur for all browsers.

More people are creating websites than ever before, with 48 percent of the U.S. population planning to create one.  To help make building your secure website a bit easier, we’ve teamed up with some of our registrar partners, who are offering free SSL certificates during the month of October. We’re also kicking off a video series where existing creators will share their tips for launching a website. You can check them out at safe.page/buildsecurely.

Build security into your next website

If you wanted to send a secret message by mail, would you rather send it in an envelope, or on a postcard? If you send it on a postcard, anyone who saw the postcard on its way to the recipient could read the message, or even make changes to what’s written.

Encryption on a website functions like an envelope, protecting information passed between your website and its visitors so it can’t be snooped on or changed. It’s what keeps your visitors safe from bad actors who may try to alter your site’s content, misdirect traffic, spy on open Wi-Fi networks, and inject malware or tracking. You achieve encryption on a website by installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This certificate ensures that the data passed between a web server and a browser remains private. 

To kick off National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’re highlighting something that many website owners don’t realize—a single page that isn’t encrypted could potentially be used to gain access to the rest of the website. To avoid this, you need encryption on your entire website, not just for pages that are collecting credit card numbers or log-in info. Even unencrypted landing pages that redirect to an HTTPS page can pose risks. A single unprotected page can become a backdoor for bad actors to snoop on the rest of the site. How do you ensure your entire website is encrypted?

Use a top-level domain that is HSTS preloaded. 

The HSTS preload list tells modern browsers which websites  to only load over an encrypted connection. The fastest way to get on this list is to use a top-level domain that’s already on the HSTS preload list, such as .app.dev, or .page. Any website on those extensions gets the security benefits of HSTS preloading from day one, so all you need to do is install your SSL certificate.

Add your website to the HSTS preload list yourself. 

Websites can be individually added to the HSTS preload list by the website owner at hstspreload.org. Keep in mind this can be a slow process because the list is manually built into the browser. That means updates to the list are made as new browser releases come out, which can take months to occur for all browsers.

More people are creating websites than ever before, with 48 percent of the U.S. population planning to create one.  To help make building your secure website a bit easier, we’ve teamed up with some of our registrar partners, who are offering free SSL certificates during the month of October. We’re also kicking off a video series where existing creators will share their tips for launching a website. You can check them out at safe.page/buildsecurely.

How m.Paani seeks to boost 60 million Indian retailers

There are more than 60 million family-owned local businesses in India, that drive more than 90 percent of retail in the country. They also account for more than 40 percent of local employment.  Until recently, these retailers have enjoyed a consistent customer base for generations with little competition. Now, a billion Indians are coming online and there is a new digitally-driven Indian consumer to serve. With competition from new formats from e-commerce to big box stores, local retailers are presented with a new set of challenges that could put many of them out of business and leave a large portion of the population unemployed. 

Akanksha Hazari Ericson is using technology to provide a solution. The vast majority of local merchants in India are not digitized in any way. Akanksha’s startup, m.Paani, is empowering them with the tools to survive and thrive. The startup is currently working in India, and eventually plans to expand across other emerging markets. m.Paani was recently part of Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator, a program that supports startups with access to Google technology, mentorship, and network. 

From running seven acceleration programs around the world and supporting 341 startup founders, Launchpad has seen firsthand how global entrepreneurs are using technology and innovation to solve the world’s biggest problems. As part of our “Ideas to Reality” spotlight series, we caught up with Akanksha to talk about her journey in starting m.Paani and where she sees the company going over the next few years.

When did you realize your mission to help local retailers? 

I got the entrepreneurial bug when I successfully built and grew my first venture at 21. I then decided that my next business would be built in India, contributing to the country’s economic development, and eventually other emerging markets as well. In 2009, I returned to India after completing my masters at Cambridge to work in the intersection of tech and agriculture. I spent a year living in villages across the country, looking at how we can use technology to increase farmers’ incomes. This is when I also fell in love with the local businesses with which I interacted, and realized the critical role they play in our economy. The beginnings of m.Paani were born.

What is the first step you take when you turn your idea into a reality?

Understand and build a relationship with my customer. I moved to Mumbai, a city in which I had never lived and knew no one, with a presentation and a dream. Walking the local markets every day, I signed up and sold our product to our first 50 retailers and a few hundred consumers myself. I strongly believe that if you don’t know your customer directly and can’t sell your vision, solution or service to them at the beginning, then you are in no position to ask anyone else to do so.

Are there Google products you are using and would recommend to other startup founders?

Yes, three core products help us run our business. First, we’re hosted on Google Cloud. Next, we’re using Firebase for event tracking, testing and marketing. We love the flexibility that Firebase gives us to keep being nimble. Finally, we use Google Analytics, which is an absolute must for any business and a pivotal part of each day.

Tell us more about your experience in Launchpad Accelerator. 

If you have to learn, you might as well learn from the best. Launchpad has given us great insights, especially in machine learning. The one-to-one mentorship session with Peter Norvig, Google’s machine learning director, was a standout moment for our team. The entire experience was truly enriching and would recommend it to any entrepreneurs.

What advice do you have for future entrepreneurs?

Find a very very big, meaningful problem to solve. Something that has a deeper purpose for you, and makes our world a better place. It is more important than ever now that we all look to solve real problems in the world, from sustainability to economic empowerment. Don’t expect it to be glamorous—at all.  Expect it to be unfathomably hard, and expect yourself to be more tenacious and resilient than you have ever been. But trust me, because it is purpose-driven you will stay motivated, and if you stick with it until its solved, you will change the world. 

What is the most inspiring part of your work?

Our retailers. These are family businesses built over generations, in some cases. My favorite part of my job is meeting our customers and learning from them. The most meaningful part of any day is hearing and seeing first hand our positive impact on empowering, transforming and growing a local business. This, more than anything else, is what gets me and our whole team up and excited every morning. 

Advice from a salon owner turned startup founder

I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s possible to raise millions of dollars to get your business off the ground—and not know a thing about fundraising. My cofounder and I did. As a matter of fact, we’re first-time tech entrepreneurs who don’t live in Silicon Valley (the horror!), we’re married (surprise!), and we’re far from being software developers (Java means coffee in our world). We’re African-American, and we’re serving a community that people don’t readily associate with technology: beauticians and barbers.

Back in 2018, we were the first Texas founders to win Google Demo Day, which helped us secure $500,000 in funding. We don't look like a lot of founders out there, and we've learned a few things about how gritty entrepreneurs can get funding for their businesses.

Believe in yourself and prove it.

It may sound cliché, but optimism is a competitive advantage. Others doubted our idea for ShearShare, an app that connects salon and barbershop owners to stylists who can fill empty chairs in their shops, but we knew better—we had already tested out the idea before developing the app. So stand firm in your self-confidence, drown out all the noise, and keep going. To help get you there, try experimenting on a small scale for several months before you apply for that line of credit or meet with an angel investor. Doing a series of interviews with potential customers is one of the best ways to build a product that solves a real problem.

Uncover alternative methods to funding your business.

Consider local pitch competitions, contests, your alma mater’s innovation or entrepreneurship lab, specialty business loans, and crowdfunding platforms. We entered so many pitch competitions that I can probably recite our pitch backwards. These programs are out there and just require a little elbow grease. Look for them.

She who has the best data wins. 

Data helps you identify macro trends before the winds really start to shift. So start tracking everything now and do more of what works. As entrepreneurs with a limited budget, we spent $10 per week on Google AdWords in the early days to get in front of customers who were looking for our solution. When we look at how our users first hear of ShearShare, just over 30 percent say they saw our ads on Google. We then take that data and use other free tools like Google Sheets and Google Analytics to find additional insights. Knowing who your users are and how they behave makes sure the right audience sees you when it matters most.

Your company is only as healthy as you are. 

Be ready for a marathon, because starting a business is far from a sprint. Mentors from Google emphasized the importance of well-being and reminded us to prioritize ourselves during our preparation for Google Demo Day 2018. If my cofounder and I hadn’t been bullish on self-care—eating well, getting enough sleep, taking much-needed breaks, exercising—we wouldn’t have been able to get through the more than 250 meetings that it took to raise money for ShearShare. Prioritizing your self-care is good for business.

Find supporters who believe in your vision and share your values.

We didn’t know how to meet investors because we didn’t have a network, so we asked folks with a specialized skill set for help. And when we asked for help, those conversations led to introductions to people who believed in our vision. These were people like Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital, Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Winterpoint Capital, andCharles Hudson of Precursor Ventures, who are now ShearShare investors. Though countless investors passed on us, we found the right ones who share our values: grit, integrity, subject-matter expertise, determination and fortitude. 

Even though the road to entrepreneurship wasn’t paved with gold, my cofounder and I saw opportunity where others saw an empty chair. Throughout it all, we believed in our idea, listened intently to our users and found a supportive network to help us keep growing. And it’s proving to be the right bet, as day by day ShearShare is changing an age-old industry and creating jobs and wealth for beauty and barbering professionals worldwide. 



Babymigo: technology for Africa’s new parents

With infant mortality rates on the rise in Nigeria, mostly due to a lack of doctors in rural areas, entrepreneur Adeloye Olanrewaju wanted to see if he could use tech to figure out a solution. This led him to start Babymigo, an online community that connects expecting and new mothers to resources, doctors, experts and other services

Babymigo was recently part of Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator in Nigeria, a three-month program that provides mentorship and support to early-stage startups. With seven acceleration programs and 338 startup alumni, we at Launchpad have seen firsthand how global entrepreneurs are using technology and startup innovation to solve the world’s biggest problems. 

In a new spotlight series called “Ideas to Reality,” we aim to share the stories of these founders and their startups through videos and written case studies. In our first installment, we talk to Adeloye about why he started Babymigo, and where he hopes it will be in the next few years.

Adeloye Olanrewaju of Babymigo

Adeloye at a Google Developers Launchpad event.

When did you first come up with the idea for Babymigo?

My aunt lost her baby due to complications arising from childbirth. Those complications could have been avoided if she had access to the right healthcare information. Unfortunately, her story is not a unique one. 

Today in Nigeria, more than 7 million babies are born every year, but the country still has the third highest infant mortality rate in the world. To make matters worse, nearly 60,000 mothers lose their lives each year due to complications arising from childbirth. 

When I started my career working at a maternity clinic, I saw that the biggest problem mothers faced was poor access to verified health care professionals and healthcare information. I wanted to help and felt tech was my way to do it.  So I quit my job and started Babymigo, to use technology to solve these challenges. 

How does Babymigo use tech to combat infant mortality? 

We are the first and only platform that increases access to informed health decisions via SMS, an  app and a web portal. Our goal is to help expecting mothers get their questions answered by hyperlocal medical and child care experts. Today, our services have reached more than 100,000 users. We are looking to reach 1 million mothers by the end of 2020. 

What steps did you take to make bring your idea to life? 

I first found as many users as I could, and then conducted extensive research to better understand the problems they faced and what solutions they really needed. This saved us valuable time, allowing us to focus on the most important features our users wanted.

The Google Launchpad Accelerator was a big opportunity to diagnose our company. With the help of experts and experienced mentors, we were able to increase user growth and retention by about 20%. Being a part of Launchpad also brought us media exposure and significant investor interest. With Google supporting us, we saw a dramatic rise in the confidence of our investors and clients. 

Google products are at the center of building our platform. Through Firebase Cloud Messaging, we send notification messages to drive user retention.  We also use Google Analytics to better understand our customers, using its insights to take action, such as improving our website. 

Any advice for future entrepreneurs? 

Building a tech startup is a rollercoaster, so developing a strong mental resilience is key. Nothing can replace persistence.  Surround yourself with thinkers who push you. At Launchpad I had the chance to be challenged by my peers at every turn. Find a network that will guide you in the same way.

How we help the veteran community succeed in startups

As part of our continued commitment to support the military community, we’re partnering with Patriot Boot Camp, Bunker Labs and Veteran Capital to empower transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Of the 250,000 service members who will transition out of the military this year, one in four want to start their own business—in addition to the 2.5 million businesses already led by veterans in the U.S. And despite frequent relocations, nearly a quarter of military spouses surveyed by Blue Star Families have owned their own business. Life in the military means learning to solve problems with limited resources, adapt to changing conditions and lead under pressure—and these are all qualities that also apply to startup life. 

Bunker Labs expands to more cities 

Bunker Labs was founded by veterans who, upon starting their own companies, saw ways they could create a clearer path to entrepreneurship for others in the military community. Today, Bunker Labs has 25 chapters around the country and runs business incubator programs in 15 cities, providing mentorship, education and community to more than 400 startups led by military spouses and veterans. Our partnership will expand Bunker Labs programming in two new cities—Atlanta, Georgia and Raleigh, North Carolina—and Google advisors offering one-on-one mentorship will also help startups in the program get the support and know-how to succeed.

Bunker Labs 2019 National Summit in Seattle, WA.jpeg

Aspiring entrepreneurs like Katherine Kostreva—military spouse and founder of OnPoint—at the Bunker Labs 2019 National Summit in Seattle, WA.

A focus on mentorship with Patriot Boot Camp

Building off the success of a three-day Patriot Boot Camp program supported by the Google Veterans Network in Austin, TX this year, our new partnership will pair startups founded by veterans and military spouses in the Patriot Mentor Program with advisors from Google to provide product expertise. We’re especially excited to support Patriot Boot Camp as they inspire and equip additional military spouse and veteran founders to succeed. People like Patriot Boot Camp alumni Erica McMannes and Liza Rodewald, military spouses with 17 moves between them, often struggle to find effective remote work opportunities that could keep up with their military lifestyles. Their experience inspired them to create Instant Teams, a startup that helps companies hire and manage a remote workforce of professionals from the military community. These entrepreneurs are showing amazing early traction—Erica and Liza just successfully raised a round of Series A funding. 

Bringing opportunities to the military community with Veteran Capital

Our partnership with Veteran Capital places veterans and military spouses in three-month fellowships at high-growth tech startups. We will also activate local Googlers to lead workshops that help military community members build effective resumes and learn sales skills and design best practices. People like James Maffey honed the ability to quickly identify and solve problems while in the U.S. Army, and applied that during a Veteran Capital Fellowship with First, an AI-driven real estate startup. "I learned how to thrive in environments of ambiguity during my time in the military, which translated well to the unpredictability and frequent pivoting of the startup world,” he says.

Our ongoing commitment to the military community

From helping vets find jobs and improving ways to work remotely to highlighting veteran-led business on Google Search and Maps, we’re honored to help transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses grow their careers and businesses. Learn more about how Google for Startups supports the military community by joining us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And check out Google’s additional resources for veterans and military families.

Step up your interviewing game with Byteboard

I’ve worked as a software engineer on Google products like Photos and Maps for four years. But if you asked me to interview for a new role today, I doubt most technical interviews would accurately measure my skills. I would need to find time to comb through my college computer science books, practice coding theory problems like implementing linked lists or traversing a graph, and be prepared to showcase this knowledge on a whiteboard. 

According to a survey we conducted of over 2,500 working software engineers, nearly half of the respondents spent more than 15 hours studying for their technical interviews. Unfortunately, many companies still interview engineers in a way that's entirely disjointed from day-to-day engineering work—valuing access to the time and resources required to prepare over actual job-related knowledge and skills.

As a result, the tech interview process is often inefficient for companies, which sink considerable engineering resources into a process that yields very little insight, and frustrating for candidates, who aren't able to express their full skill-set. 

At Byteboard, a project built inside of Area 120 (Google’s workshop for experimental projects), we’ve redesigned the technical interview experience to be more effective, efficient and equitable for all. Our project-based interview assesses for engineering skills that are actually used on the job. The structured, identity-blind evaluation process enables hiring managers to reliably trust our recommendations, so they have to conduct fewer interviews before reaching a confident hiring decision. For candidates, this means they get to work through the design and implementation of a real-world problem in a real-world coding environment on their own time, without the stress of going through high-pressured theoretical tests. 

An effective interview to assess for on-the-job skills

Byteboard creates more effective technical interviews

We built the Byteboard interview by pairing our software engineering skills analysis with extensive academic research on assessment theory and inclusion best practices. Our interview assesses for skills like problem solving, role-related computer science knowledge, code fluency, growth mindset and interpersonal interaction. Byteboard evaluators—software engineers with up to 15+ years of experience—are trained to objectively review each anonymized interview for the presence of 20+ essential software engineering skills, which are converted into a skills profile for each candidate using clear and well-defined rubrics. 

By providing a more complete understanding of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses across a range of skills, Byteboard enables hiring managers and recruiters to make data-backed hiring decisions. Early tester Betterment saw their onsite-to-offer rates significantly increase by using Byteboard, indicating its effectiveness at identifying strong candidates for the job.

A more efficient interview to save engineers time

Byteboard creates more efficient technical interviews

Byteboard offers an end-to-end service that includes developing, administering and evaluating the interviews, letting companies focus on meeting more potential candidates face-to-face and increasing the number of candidates they can interview. Our clients have replaced up to 100 percent of their pre-onsite interviews with the Byteboard interview, allowing them to redirect time toward recruiting candidates directly at places like conferences and college campuses.

An equitable interview format to reduce bias

Byteboard creates more equitable technical interviews

The Byteboard interview is designed to grant everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, name, background or education, the same opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Traditional technical interviews tend to test for understanding of theoretical concepts, which often require a big investment of time or resources to study up on. This can create anxiety for candidates who may not have either of those to spare as they are looking for a new job. By focusing on engineering skills that are actually used on the job, Byteboard allows candidates to confidently show off their role-related skills in an environment that is less performative and more similar to how they typically work as engineers. 

I felt less anxious while doing the interview and it gave me the most complete view of my strengths and weaknesses than any other interview I've done. a recent candidate from Howard University
An applicant or recruiter using Byteboard

The Byteboard Assessment Development team of educators and software engineers develop challenging questions that are tested and calibrated among engineers across a wide range of demographics. Through Byteboard's anonymization and structured evaluation of the interviews, hiring managers can make decisions with confidence without relying on unconscious biases. 


With Byteboard, our ultimate goal is to make interviewing better for companies and candidates alike. Companies looking to improve their hiring process can get in touch at byteboard.dev.

A small device that makes a world of a difference

Editor’s note: Modoo is a China-based startup that has created the smallest fetal monitoring patch in the world—and took home the Judge’s Choice award at the Google for Startups Asia Demo Day in Bangkok last week. Their founder shares his story of the company. 

If I had to sum up my approach as an entrepreneur, it’s that I simply want to use technology to help people. I’d spent years developing technology for fun, or for leisure. And then the unthinkable happened—a very good friend of mine lost her baby just two days before her due date. She was young and healthy, and they had no reason to think that anything could go wrong. It was heartbreaking. 

Seeing her go through that experience made me want to learn more about what was available for expectant mothers. I didn’t find much. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m an engineer developing cool gadgets, but there’s no technology to help expectant mothers through probably the most anxiety-ridden stage of their lives.” I wanted to do more. 

I founded Modoo in 2015. We created the smallest fetal monitoring patch in the world to help mothers-to-be monitor their unborn baby’s movement and heartbeat anytime. It connects with an app that provides information and health advice, and through AI, we can detect complications early, to prevent fetal distress. 

I was shocked when they called out Modoo as the winner of Google for Startups Demo Day in Bangkok last week. Demo Day brings together talented entrepreneurs giving them the opportunity to shine, connect, and realize visions to solve big problems. I’d spent a few days with the 11 other teams, and saw how they had achieved amazing progress and made a huge impact on society. I remember thinking it would be tough for the judges to make a decision!

Modoo at Demo Day Asia 2019

From left to right: Jeffrey Paine (Golden Gate Ventures), Shannon Kalayanamitr (Gobi Partners), Jilliang Ma (Founder, Modoo), Justin Nguyen (Monk's Hill Ventures) and Michael Kim (Google for Startups)

But then I thought about our journey and the impact we’ve made. We’ve already served 60,000 mothers and given them much-needed peace of mind. And with the help of early detection of fetal distress through our technology, we’ve helped save the lives of 87 babies. The mission to save lives and make life better is what drives my team and me. 

What’s next? We want to take our product to more parts of the globe, and are looking at ways to help mothers monitor their health postpartum, as well as ways to monitor the health of babies and young children. 

Google for Startups Demo Day reaffirmed my passion, and gave me a platform for more people to learn about the work that we’re doing. It was also inspiring to meet other entrepreneurs from all over the region, who are similarly passionate and mission-driven. Our ideas will change the world.