Author Archives: Michael Kim

Sharpen your founder skills at Startup School

Last year, Hanna Kim, the founder of Grip, a live-streaming e-commerce platform in Korea, graduated from our Google for Startups’ Immersion: Women Founders program. This was an eight-week mentorship program for female founders across the Asia Pacific region. “It’s been really helpful to get insights about business and HR,” Hannah says. “The program made me dream even bigger.” Using her new skills, she is now gearing up to take her startup global. 

I work on a team that connects startups with the right people, products and best practices to help them thrive and grow. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to meet many inspiring founders like Hanna, who are eager to learn, and ready to take their startups to the next level. Especially in the last year, I’ve heard from founders that they’re looking for more tools and skills to pivot and scale their startups to face today’s challenges. 

Today, we’re launching Startup School — a series of free, hands-on virtual courses for startup founders and their teams across Asia Pacific. We’ve provided training programs for startups for years, but last year was the first time we fully went digital. Though it had its challenges, I was excited to still be able to connect with and support startups, especially as many of them navigated new obstacles brought about by the global pandemic. Startup School expands on that experience. With this new program, we hope to arm startups to help them tackle the major issues of our region.

The interactive sessions will cover a range of topics, from digital marketing and product knowledge to business strategy. The sessions will be led by Googlers, entrepreneurs and industry leaders from around the world. We will host one training per week for the next 12 weeks, with the first one happening this Thursday. Participants can choose from a variety of topics, and register for the courses that will best support their goals.  

Around the world, I’ve seen startups stepping up to solve new and unforeseen challenges, from an app that provides online sign language to a chatbot servicethat assists online sellers. This kind of agility and innovative thinking is precisely what we need to face today’s challenges. We are committed to helping startups succeed, and know that their success will help solve community problems and bolster our local economies. If you’re a founder or part of a startup in the Asia Pacific region, we hope you’ll register for Startup Schoolnow. See you in class! 

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.