Author Archives: Michał Kramarz

Spotlight: The first Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund recipients

Over the past three months, the world has witnessed the resilience and spirit of the Ukrainian people. We’ve seen how an entire population has responded to unimaginable circumstances and demonstrated not only a will to survive, but to persevere and succeed.

We know this spirit well from the strong and vibrant Ukrainian startup community, which boasts its share of “unicorn” startups including GitLab, Grammarly, Genesis,, and Firefly Aerospace.

To help Ukrainian entrepreneurs maintain and grow their businesses, strengthen their community and build a foundation for post-war economic recovery, in March we announced a $5 million Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund to allocate equity-free cash awards throughout 2022. Selected Ukraine-based startups will receive up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding as well as ongoing Google mentorship, product support, and Cloud credits.

Meet the first recipients

Today, we are proud to announce the first cohort of recipients of the Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund.

  • Almexoft: A low-code platform for business process automation and electronic document management.
  • CareTech Human: A fully-automated, plug-and-play device for daily health checks and early disease detection.
  • Discoperi: An AI-powered video control system that collects traffic data to prevent car accidents and make roads safer.
  • Dots Platform: A cloud-based, all-in-one food delivery platform.
  • A text-to-video platform that allows users to generate video content with virtual presenters from text.
  • An HR software that empowers leaders to build high-performing teams.
  • An internal сommunications platform offering a personal virtual assistant for employees.
  • Lab24: A digital medical laboratory marketplace connecting customers to affordable services.
  • Mindly: An end-to-end mental health platform for online therapy that offers AI-powered patient care and clinical admin automation.
  • PRAVOSUD: A litigation analytics platform enabling lawyers to craft successful legal strategies.
  • pleso therapy: A mental health platform that efficiently matches patients with therapists.
  • Private Tech Network: An AI-driven “venture capital-as-a-service” platform, designed to make fundraising faster and more efficient.
  • Releaf Paper: The world's first manufacturer of paper products made from fallen leaves.
  • Respeecher: A high-fidelity voice cloning (voice conversion) system for content creators.
  • Skyworker: A hiring app providing tech recruiting and human resources services.
  • VanOnGo: An AI-powered, direct-to-consumer delivery platform.
  • ZooZy: A one-stop pet care mobile app streamlining all of your pet’s needs—food, training advice, healthcare, and other essentials—into a single platform.

Startups are selected based on the criteria and evaluation of an interview, and Ukrainian-founded startups that meet the criteria can apply on a rolling basis here. And while some companies may not qualify for the Fund itself, Google for Startups continues to offer other forms of support that can be found here.

Key challenges, according to one Ukrainian founder

We spoke to Ukraine Support Fund recipient Dimitri Podoliev, CEO and co-founder of mental health support app Mindly, to better understand the specific challenges that Ukrainian founders face as they navigate running their businesses during a war.

When Mindly participated in last year's Google for Startups Accelerator: Europe - for healthtech and wellbeing startups - Podoliev’s focus was “to build a team that will be able to quickly, efficiently and effectively use a data-driven approach to build an amazing product.”

An office showing Mindly’s CEO and co-founder Dimitri Podoliev (on screen) meeting with Sundar Pichai

Mindly’s CEO and co-founder Dimitri Podoliev (on screen) meeting with Sundar Pichai

Now, Mindly is pivoting to help make mental health support accessible to all Ukrainians, in the war zone and beyond. During a round table with Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai at the Google for Startups Campus in Warsaw, Podoliev shared that the support extends to psychotherapists as well as patients. “Therapists are people too, and they are all from Ukraine and in very difficult situations, I feel it unfair to ask them to work for free. During the time of war, Mindly has committed to invest 100% of its income in mental health therapy for Ukrainians who currently can’t afford to pay for it themselves. Our goal is to maximize the number of free-of-charge therapy sessions we can provide and people we can help,” said Podoliev.

With Google’s support, Mindly plans to expand to Poland, which has seen a huge increase in Ukrainian population. Podoliev sees Warsaw as a key player in helping Ukraine’s economic recovery, and will use the Ukraine Support Fund resources to scale in Poland, generate new revenue streams, and provide virtual therapy to as many people affected by the crisis as possible.

Support for Ukrainian founders like Podoliev will help them succeed and build the tech that their country needs now. Stay tuned as we continue to announce more Ukraine Support Fund recipients over the next few months.

Accelerating health and wellbeing startups in Europe

COVID-19 has changed life as we know it, and around the world, startup founders are stepping up to solve new and unforeseen challenges with agility, resilience and innovative technology. In particular, the pandemic spurred a high demand for digital health and wellbeing solutions. Germany alone reported a 1,000% increase in telehealth offerings — with more than 20,000 medical doctors and psychotherapists now offering appointments through video-consultations — and Frost & Sullivan forecasts a sevenfold growth in digital health services by 2025. 

Digital advancements in healthcare are evident and, post-pandemic, people are likely to need new approaches when engaging with healthcare providers. With a growing number of technology startups focused on health and wellbeing, we are excited to announce that the next class of Google for Startups Accelerator in Europe will be designed for entrepreneurs and innovators in this space. 

Google for Startups Accelerator is a three-month program consisting of intensive workshops and mentorship from Google engineers and external experts tailored to their business through a mix of remote one-on-one and one-to-many learning sessions for growth-stage startups. Google for Startups is looking for startups from across Europe and Israel using technology to solve the biggest health and wellbeing challenges we face today. 

A group of people participating in Google for Startups Accelerator online graduation

Google for Startups Accelerator: Europe graduation in 2021

Over the past two years, 27 startups have graduated from Google for Startups Accelerator programs in Europe. Our alumni have achieved many successes: the average monthly revenue of startups from one of the previous classes increased by 74%, and one startup even increased their monthly active users by 200 times compared to pre-acceleration.

One recent graduate is Synctuition, an Estonian startup that helps users meditate via a deep relaxation app. Tina Bychkova, Synctuition’s head of digital marketing, says Google mentors helped the team grow their user numbers. She also emphasizes that the program helped them bond as a team: “Not only did we leave Accelerator with an improved product, but also we left with a better understanding of ourselves,” she says. “The Google for Startups Accelerator gave us the confidence and knowledge to adapt, pivot and achieve growth in 2020 that we would have never dared aim for during a pandemic,” Joosep Tinn, Synctuition’s COO, adds.

Tina Bychkova (Head of Digital Marketing at Synctuition) at Google for Startups Accelerator event

Tina Bychkova, Head of Digital Marketing at Synctuition founder Kasia Dorsey had a proven track record of corporate experience, but turned to Google for Startups Accelerator to tap into a founder support system. “With my background in corporate marketing and business, I had to learn everything from scratch: about technology, building a tech company and scaling the business in the tech world,” Kasia says. “I was looking for knowledge and inspiration from the experienced mentors and I found it all within Google for Startups.”

Kasia Dorsey (Founder and CEO of at Google for Startups Campus in Warsaw

Kasia Dorsey, Founder and CEO of

Martin Pentenrieder, founder of German skincare startup SQIN, joined our Accelerator in October 2020 with a goal of working with technical experts to scale his AI-powered business. He and his team appreciated the professional connections that the Google for Startups community could uniquely provide. “The expertise of people who are on the move in a global network and serve a wide variety of customers was extremely valuable for us,” says Martin.

A portrait photo of Martin Pentenrieder, Founder and CEO of SQIN

Martin Pentenrieder, Founder and CEO of SQIN

Google for Startups Accelerator: Europe is just the latest in Google’s ongoing commitment to level the playing field for startup success for founders everywhere. Learn more and apply for the program on our Accelerator website until August 23.

5 reasons to watch startups in Central and Eastern Europe

In 2015 we opened Google for Startups Campus Warsaw, a dedicated space in the middle of the city’s bustling Praga district, where startups can receive training and mentorship. We opened our doors to founders from across the region because we passionately believe they’re the ones shaping the future of their countries’ economies, and we have the resources and connections to help them grow. 

In the past five years, Campus Warsaw has become a hub for programs and events (welcoming 100,000 visitors in total), and a flourishing community of over 1,800 startups. And we’ve had the privilege of supporting founders in their endeavor to question the status quo. Working with these determined entrepreneurs has shown me that there are five key reasons to watch the startup ecosystem in Central and Eastern Europe.

1. Tech talent pool has real game—literally.

CEE startup career opportunities extend well beyond entrepreneurs: Startups in our community have hired 43,000+ employees to date across a variety of industries. There are about one million software developers in Central and Eastern Europe, 50 percent of whom are concentrated in Poland, Romania, and Czechia. Such a high concentration of highly skilled and educated tech workers led to the rapid development of sectors such as gaming. Poland boasts over 440 gaming development studios—launching more than 480 new games each year—and gaming is the second-largest sector in our CEE Google for Startups community.

People working on computers

Startups receive one-on-one Google mentoring at Campus Warsaw and via virtual programming.

2. The number of startups has doubled in the last five years. 

...and the total continues to grow rapidly. In Poland alone, there are now about 4,500 startups. More than half generate revenue and a quarter are scaling (aka growing their customer base, offerings, and the company itself). The profile of the average founder has also evolved: To a large extent, startups are founded by people who are over 30 years old and already have relevant experience and networks from previous stages of their careers.

A female startup founder

 35 percent of founders at Google for Startups Campus Warsaw are women

3. Foreign investments in CEE startups are at a record high.   

Venture capital investors are searching for new investment opportunities across Europe, and the CEE region is becoming increasingly attractive. According to the global startup data platform Dealroom, there’s five times more foreign VC investment in the ecosystem than there was in 2015. And it’s twice as easy to secure funding for a business: 69 percent of startups obtain financing, as stated in our “Five Years of Google for Startups in CEE” report, which we prepared together with Startup Poland and Kantar.
Two founders chatting on a couch

Founders find inspiration in coworking spaces at Campus Warsaw in 2018

4. The booming ecosystem offers support for founders at every step. 

Startups based in CEE have many organizations and resources to turn to when they need a helping hand in growing their business. In 2019, Poland alone boasted approximately 50 coworking spaces, totalling over 200,000 square meters. Since opening our Google for Startups Campus space, we’ve hosted over 1800 educational and inspirational events for founders to help them build, start, and grow their companies. "Here at Campus, I am surrounded by and have access to individuals who want to have an impact, solve tough problems, or challenge the status quo,” said Joanna Fedorowicz, founder and CEO of OvuFriend. “I have never been more motivated and prepared to take my startup to the next level.” 

Campus Warsaw building

Google for Startups Campus Warsaw in 2020C

5. CEE founders must have a global mindset.  

As the local CEE markets are relatively small, startups in our region need to think globally from day one. Those who design their products for an international scale are at the forefront of the European tech startup scene. So far, 12 unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion) have sprung out of the CEE region, with a combined value of €30 billion. Most were founded in Romania and Poland, with a promising batch of stars rising across the whole region. And we’re proud to support them every step of the way. “After our first successes, like many other startups, we reached a point when scaling up and entering another level of growth became a challenge,” said Iga Czubak, founder and CEO ofQurczak. “During the Google for Startups program, we reevaluated our whole business model and analyzed every aspect of our company's strategy, which enabled us to keep growing." 

People playing foosball.

Campus Warsaw founders celebrate successes—as well as crushing foosball defeats.

I promised a list of five, but I’m going to sneak in a sixth: The number one thing I’ve learned over the past five years is this: No matter if startup is just starting out or scaling to meet the needs of new consumers, businesses, and society, we will keep on connecting them—whether online or IRL—with the right products, skills and people to navigate the road ahead. Because when startups succeed, it’s good for all of us, in CEE and beyond.