Tag Archives: Entrepreneurs

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. 


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. 


Growing into a mom and CEO

Editor’s Note: Lee Da-rang is a graduate of the Campus for Moms program at Campus in Seoul, a hub run by Google for Startups where entrepreneurs can discover a supportive community, work on their big idea, and gain access to resources like mentorship and technical training. Recently, the author and six other Campus for Moms graduates published a book about their experience.


I’ll be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed as a new mom. I found it hard to reconcile my former work as a counselor with this new role as a mom, which I felt ill-prepared for. I blogged about my experience and found a community online, which became the inspiration for my business. My idea was to create an online community for parents that offers training and solutions to guide them through the many choices, challenges, and joys of parenthood.

But growing an idea into a successful online business is not easy, especially with my hands full as a busy mom. I had no idea where to start. One day, I happened upon Campus for Moms, a program operated by the Google for Startups Campus in Korea. The program provided training and mentorship to help you start your business, but they also gave us support, like childcare services, so that parents can fully dive into their work, while having their child nearby. It was just what I was looking for. The Campus for Moms program taught me different things every week—from customer outreach and marketing, to product development and investment. Little by little, I received the training and feedback to help my little business idea flourish.

The part of the program I remember most vividly is going out onto the streets of Seoul and interviewing potential customers as part of the market research training module. Talking with strangers on the street about my potential business was no easy task. But the feedback from these everyday people, and the survey data I collected during the program, provided invaluable insights. And perhaps more importantly, by explaining my business to others, I eventually developed the courage needed to actually make my idea a reality.  

Today, I’m the CEO of a flourishing business. Growing Mom has more than 40,000 social media followers, and we employ regular data management and analysis to constantly improve (a bit more sophisticated than my woman-on-the-street interviews!). We work with trusted psychology and education professionals to provide parents with information in a creative and approachable way. In the future, I want to provide more services and offline experiences that further build community and provide support for parents.

I’m sharing my story for other new mothers who might have an idea, but feel like they don’t have what it takes to grow it into reality, especially while raising their own children. It was Campus for Moms, and the community that shared the experience with me, that gave me the courage to take that leap, and the skills I needed to grow into the mother and the CEO I am today.


Supporting underrepresented founders with Backstage Accelerator

As a first-time Black founder from South Carolina, Harold Hughes isn’t your stereotypical startup CEO.  Despite his infectious enthusiasm and extensive sales experience, more than 140 investors passed on Bandwagon, his analytics company for sports venues, teams and fans. But after three years of no’s, Harold finally received a resounding yes with funding from Backstage Capital at the 2016 Google for Startups Black Founders Immersion Program. Not fitting in was exactly why Harold was the perfect fit for Backstage Capital’s team of “venture catalysts.”

“I found out later that Backstage saw more than 2,000 companies, and we were one of the startups they bet on,” remembers Harold. “I've always appreciated their team for believing in us early on and helping us find additional investors, minimize our costs, and amplify our message.”

Backstage Capital shares our belief that great ideas can come from anywhere, and we want to help them support more founders like Harold. So we’re partnering to help scale their new Backstage Accelerator, a three-month program for diverse founders in Detroit, Los Angeles, London and Philadelphia. In addition to initial investments, Backstage Accelerator helps startups reach their next critical milestone, with a team of experienced investors, experts and mentors. And now, they’ll get support from Google, too. Over the next year, each startup will be connected with Google advisors and product experts, onsite workshops in Google spaces, and access to the Google network of resources and support.

Backstage Accelerator is a natural addition to the 50+ organizations in the growing Google for Startups partner network. This year, we're supporting organizations like Founder Gym, Veteran Capital, and SheStarts to help level the playing field for underrepresented founders, connecting them to the resources and network they need to grow. Together, we can close the funding gap and open doors for founders of all backgrounds.

We’re proud to work alongside Backstage Accelerator to change the face of startup success. But don't just take our word for it. Join us in celebrating the incredible companies being built by Backstage Accelerator founders, featured this month on the Google for Startups Twitter, Instagram and Facebook channels.

Demo Day Asia 2019: the countdown to Bangkok begins

Top-notch startups from all over the region applied to be a part of our second Demo Day Asia, with ideas ranging from an imaging device for early breast cancer detection to making solar energy more accessible while improving education opportunities for kids. This year, we’re pleased to welcome eleven startups from around the region as finalists. Drumroll please…

Demo Day Asia finalists 2019

Demo Day Asia 2019 finalists include Anywhr (Singapore), Glazziq (Thailand), Kyna (Vietnam), Lily Medtech (Japan), Matelabs (India), Modoo (China), Soundbrenner (Hong Kong), Talkiplay (Australia), Tello Talk (Pakistan), Wahyoo (Indonesia), Yolk (Korea) 

The finalists will travel to Bangkok next month where they’ll take part in our Google for Startups Demo Day at the Techsauce Global Summit. As part of this, they’ll experience three days of mentorship, programming and networking to help them grow their businesses. This will culminate in a much anticipated pitch, where the finalists will have a chance to share their business propositions with our distinguished judges, including Jeffrey Paine from Golden Gate Ventures, Justin Nguyen from Monk's Hill Ventures, and Shannon Kalayanamitr from GOBI Partners.  

As we saw at our first ever Demo Day Asia last year, there’s no shortage of ideas coming from this part of the world. We’re thrilled to give these talented entrepreneurs the opportunity to shine, to connect them with top investors, and help them realize their visions to solve big problems. Our countdown to Bangkok is on, and we can’t wait to highlight and support the next great tech champions of the region.

.App: bringing more people online securely

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

Celebrating 100 of our favorite .app websites. See the list here.

A year ago, we launched .app, the first open top-level domain (TLD) with built-in security through HSTS preloading. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have registered .app domains, and we want to take a moment to celebrate them.

People are making more websites and apps than ever before. A recent survey we conducted with The Harris Poll found that nearly half (48%) of U.S. respondents plan to create a website in the near future. And a lot of people, especially students, are already building on the web. Over a third (34%) of 16-24 year olds who’ve already created a website did so for a class project.

Having a meaningful domain name helps students turn their projects into reality. Take Ludwik Trammer, creator of shrew.app, who said: “The site started as a project for my graduate Educational Technology class at Georgia Tech. Getting the perfect domain gave me the initial push to turn it into the real deal (instead of making a prototype, publishing a scientific paper on it, and forgetting it).”

Helping creators launch their sites securely

With so many new creators, it’s essential that everyone does their part to make the internet safer. That’s why Google Registry designed .app to be secure by default, meaning every website on .app requires a HTTPS connection to ensure a secure connection to the internet.

HTTPS helps keep you and your website visitors safe from bad actors, who may exploit connections that aren’t secure by:

  • intercepting or altering the site’s content
  • misdirecting traffic
  • spying on open Wi-Fi networks
  • injecting ad malware or tracking


“As a social application, data protection is paramount. As cyber attacks increase, the security benefits a .app domain brings was a key factor for us. We also believe that a .app domain is significantly more descriptive than a .com domain, meaning users can find us more easily! All in all it was a no brainer for us switching to .app.”

-Daneh Westropp, Founder, pickle.app


There's still work to be done. One out of two people don’t know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Many major browsers (like Chrome) warn users in the URL bar when content is "not secure," but there’s every website creator still has a shared responsibility to keep their users safe.

.App is year in, and we’re happy to see so many people using it to build secure websites and connect with the world. You can read more stories from .app owners here and get your own .app name at get.app. If you’re one of the millions of people planning to build a website, we hope you’ll join us in making the internet safer and take the steps to securely launch your website.

Building a safer internet, one secure domain at a time

Do you lock your doors when you're not home or when you’re sleeping at night? Your home protects everything and everyone that lies within it—whether that’s your family, pets or belongings—and a door is the most direct way for a criminal to access your home. Locking your door is the simplest thing you can do to keep safe. Similarly, when you’re browsing the web, there’s one key thing that helps keep you and your information safe and “locked” up.


HTTPS is a certificate that works just like the lock on your front door at home. By “locking” your connection to a website, it helps prevent interception or alteration of content on the site you’re visiting. We want every website to have a lock on it. That’s why Google Registry created safe.page: so you can understand the most direct steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe while browsing the internet.

Visit safe.page to learn how to read a URL (to avoid phishing attacks) and the importance of a secure connection (especially when sharing sensitive info like credit cards and passwords).

Build safely, get rewarded

That’s not all we’re doing to support HTTPS. We're also teaming up with WordPress to make it easy for anyone to build a secure website. They make building secure websites a snap by automatically installing SSL certificates at no cost for domains they host. If HTTPS is locking your online information safely, an SSL certificate acts like the actual lock on the door.


If you’ve been thinking of building a website, now’s a good time to get started: We're running a contest for the best sites created through April 30, 2019. Nine winners will be selected based on their website’s user experience, user interface, originality, design and content clarity. Winners will receive a Pixel 3 phone or equivalent prize and the opportunity to be featured on one of Google Registry's websites (get.page, get.app and get.dev). Entering the competition is simple:

  1. Register your .page, .app or .dev domain. All three extensions are secure by default (registered domains only work with an SSL certificate). You can register your domain through your preferred registrar.
  2. Build your website. You can get started building your site on WordPress.com and save 25 percent using the promo code SAFE_A24F at checkout. (The offer is valid until April 30, 2019.) Websites created in other ways on .app, .page and .dev are also eligible for the contest.
  3. Learn more about the contest rules here, including eligibility restrictions, prize details and entry deadlines. Submit your website to the contest at safe.page.

That’s it! Regardless of whether you create your own secure website, we encourage everyone to visit safe.page to learn the fundamentals of keeping your information safe. Good luck and thanks for doing your part to build a safer internet!