Tag Archives: Entrepreneurs

Celebrating five years of Google for Startups in Brazil

An inspiring song here in Brazil goes: “Um passo à frente e você não está mais no mesmo lugar”— a step forward, and you’re not in the same place anymore. While singer Chico Science passed away before the tech boom, his words predicted the rapid transformation of the Brazilian startup world over the past half-decade. 

When we opened Google for Startups Campus Sao Paulo in 2016, Brazil was in a deep recession. Only slightly more than half of the population had access to the Internet, let alone used it daily. International funds were skeptical of the growth of our mere 5,000 startups, none of which were “unicorns” (companies valued at over $1 billion). 

Just five years later, there are now 141.6 million internet users in Brazil, now the world’sfifth-largest online population. The 250+ startups in our network have created more than 15,000 jobs and raised more than BRL 35 billion (USD $7 billion). Google for Startups Brazil has trained more than 30,000 entrepreneurs at more than 1,500 in-person and virtual events. The local startup ecosystem is growing so rapidly that in the three months since we finalized our five-year impact report the number of Brazilian unicorn startups has grown from 15 to 17, including six companies that graduated from Google for Startups programs. 

The story of Google in Brazil is deeply connected to this tech transformation. Our presence in the country kickstarted with theacquisition of local search engine startup Akwan. Ever since, Google for Startups’ mission has been very intentional: to help founders solve Brazil’s biggest challenges. Startups like fintech giant Nubank, which became the biggest digital bank in the worldby offering underbanked Brazilians fee-free credit cards; health-tech gamechangers like Vittude, which is making mental health care accessible to all; resources likeContabilizei that empower Brazilians to tackle bureaucracy; and digital platforms like Trakto that have reignited regional economies by helping local entrepreneurs learn digital skills. 

And who becomes a founder is changing, too. 88% of the startups in our network have women in leadership positions, 53% have a leader who identifies as LGBTQIA+, and 58% counted at least one Black leader.  While these are steps in the right direction, we still have a long way to go to level the playing field for aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. Over 56% of Brazilians self-identify as Black, but one-third of Black entrepreneurs in Brazil report being denied funding. So last year we launched the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund—the first of its kind in Brazil—to not only boost racial diversity in the startup ecosystem but also create economic opportunity for all Brazilians by supporting high-growth, Black-led companies. 

The past year also brought unprecedented devastation — and digital transformation — across our country. There have been more than 20 million cases of COVID-19 and over 570,000 deaths in Brazil, and unemployment hit an all-time high in March. Startups from the Campus Sao Paulo community fueled economic recovery by creating 2,000 jobs in 2020, a 33% increase over 2019. “The Google brand helped us forge relationships of trust,” said Lincoln Ando, CEO of idwall, a security tech startup that graduated from Google for Startups Residency and Accelerator programs and raised $38M during the pandemic. “We still have a lot to achieve in Brazil, but we see a big opportunity to take our mission even further.”

Each step forward presents new challenges, but reinventing the day-to-day is what startups do best. While I am incredibly proud of what Google for Startups has accomplished over the past five years, the real privilege is helping founders start, build, and grow the companies that will take Brazil—and the world—into the future.

More support for women founders in Asia

Ketty Lie remembers her college graduation like it was yesterday. Her mother held her hand tightly as they walked across the lawn to the ceremony and told her how proud she was that Ketty had achieved the dream she never got to fulfill herself.


That investment in education led Ketty to become an entrepreneur. Today, her company ErudiFi is focused on expanding access to education for young people across Southeast Asia. And Ketty is getting ready to start the twelve-week Women Founders Academy with Google for Startups.
Ketty Lie, the founder of ErudiFi, in a black t-shirt looking directly at the camera

Ketty Lie is excited to join the program and meet her fellow women entrepreneurs.

Following a successful first year in 2020, the Women Founders Academy 2021 will offer a new group of founders training to sharpen their leadership skills, build strong teams and address their unique growth needs, including funding. They will take part in workshops, connect with a community of Google advisors, venture capitalists and business executives and receive mentoring from dedicated subject matter experts. The 10 participants, from five countries in Asia Pacific, are:

  • Dorothy Yio, (Singapore). Engage Rocket is a cloud-based software company that helps organizations improve their employee experience.
  • Sophie Jokelson, (Singapore). Cove is a co-living company that makes it easier, faster and more flexible to rent comfortable homes at honest prices.
  • Vanessa Geraldine, (Indonesia). Prieds Technology offers an all-in-one business and technology solution to improve business efficiency.
  • Utari Octavianty, (Indonesia). Aruna is a fisheries platform that connects small-scale fishermen to the global market through technology.
  • Ketty Lie, (Indonesia). ErudiFi is a technology company focused on expanding access to education in Southeast Asia.
  • Angela Jihee Park, (Korea). Kokozi offers an audio content platform and device that provides children with unique audio experiences. 
  • Ji Eun Chung, (Korea). CODIT runs an AI data intelligence platform that helps companies manage legal, regulatory and policy risks and opportunities.
  • Monika Mehta, (India). Zealth-AI is a platform that helps manage cancer through digital remote monitoring and patient engagement.
  • Laina Emmanuel, (India). BrainSightAI is building a neuroinformatics platform that uses technology to help answer questions about neuro-oncological and neuro-psychiatric disorders.
  • Yugari Nagata, (Japan)DATA VIZ LAB is a data analytics and visualization consulting company that builds on cloud technology.

Ketty is ready to meet her fellow founders and excited about the opportunity to share lessons and experiences. “Sometimes it’s lonely being a woman founder in the tech startup world,” she says. “Finding a community of like-minded women who are building tech-based businesses in Asia hasn’t been easy and this program provides a unique platform that I wouldn’t otherwise have.”


The Women Founders Academy class of 2021 will celebrate its graduation in November. We’re looking forward to helping these founders take their next steps as entrepreneurs and business leaders.

More support for women founders in Asia

Ketty Lie remembers her college graduation like it was yesterday. Her mother held her hand tightly as they walked across the lawn to the ceremony and told her how proud she was that Ketty had achieved the dream she never got to fulfill herself.


That investment in education led Ketty to become an entrepreneur. Today, her company ErudiFi is focused on expanding access to education for young people across Southeast Asia. And Ketty is getting ready to start the twelve-week Women Founders Academy with Google for Startups.
Ketty Lie, the founder of ErudiFi, in a black t-shirt looking directly at the camera

Ketty Lie is excited to join the program and meet her fellow women entrepreneurs.

Following a successful first year in 2020, the Women Founders Academy 2021 will offer a new group of founders training to sharpen their leadership skills, build strong teams and address their unique growth needs, including funding. They will take part in workshops, connect with a community of Google advisors, venture capitalists and business executives and receive mentoring from dedicated subject matter experts. The 10 participants, from five countries in Asia Pacific, are:

  • Dorothy Yio, (Singapore). Engage Rocket is a cloud-based software company that helps organizations improve their employee experience.
  • Sophie Jokelson, (Singapore). Cove is a co-living company that makes it easier, faster and more flexible to rent comfortable homes at honest prices.
  • Vanessa Geraldine, (Indonesia). Prieds Technology offers an all-in-one business and technology solution to improve business efficiency.
  • Utari Octavianty, (Indonesia). Aruna is a fisheries platform that connects small-scale fishermen to the global market through technology.
  • Ketty Lie, (Indonesia). ErudiFi is a technology company focused on expanding access to education in Southeast Asia.
  • Angela Jihee Park, (Korea). Kokozi offers an audio content platform and device that provides children with unique audio experiences. 
  • Ji Eun Chung, (Korea). CODIT runs an AI data intelligence platform that helps companies manage legal, regulatory and policy risks and opportunities.
  • Monika Mehta, (India). Zealth-AI is a platform that helps manage cancer through digital remote monitoring and patient engagement.
  • Laina Emmanuel, (India). BrainSightAI is building a neuroinformatics platform that uses technology to help answer questions about neuro-oncological and neuro-psychiatric disorders.
  • Yugari Nagata, (Japan)DATA VIZ LAB is a data analytics and visualization consulting company that builds on cloud technology.

Ketty is ready to meet her fellow founders and excited about the opportunity to share lessons and experiences. “Sometimes it’s lonely being a woman founder in the tech startup world,” she says. “Finding a community of like-minded women who are building tech-based businesses in Asia hasn’t been easy and this program provides a unique platform that I wouldn’t otherwise have.”


The Women Founders Academy class of 2021 will celebrate its graduation in November. We’re looking forward to helping these founders take their next steps as entrepreneurs and business leaders.

How companies are using .new shortcuts

It’s been a year since we introduced .new as a domain extension to help businesses build memorable shortcuts to their products. And since then, people from all walks of life have been using these shortcuts to get things done. We recently checked in with three teams that started using .new early on — Adobe, Glitch and Google Workspace — to see if their customers are enjoying the shortcuts they created.


Adobe

Adobe launched 14 .new shortcuts to help their users create, convert, compress, sign and design elements within their apps. In this video, you’ll see why pdf.new is a convenient way for anyone to find their favorite Acrobat tools on the fly:

Video of Adobe Product Manager Ashu Mittal explaining why her team launched .new shortcuts like pdf.new for Adobe Acrobat.
10:25

Glitch

Glitch makes it possible for anyone to build a web app right in their browser and instantly publish their application. Reception for glitch.new has been enthusiastic, with more than 8,000 apps already created through their shortcut. They also received positive community feedback, which led them to add new features, including the ability to remix any of their starter apps:
Video of Jenn Schiffer, Director of Community at Glitch, sharing how the glitch.new shortcut has been positively received and how community feedback has led to new features.
10:25

Google Workspace 

The Workspace shortcuts (docs.new, sheets.new, slides.new, and more) were the original inspiration for launching .new. Since October 2018, we’ve seen over 30 million docs created with the docs.new and doc.new shortcuts alone:


Video of Jaime Schember, the social media lead for Google Workspace, sharing how social media has played a key role in spreading the popularity of their .new shortcuts.
10:25

What’s one thing the Adobe, Glitch and Workspace .new shortcuts have in common? They’re helpful in the classroom, for both students and teachers. So as we head into fall, here’s a roundup of some of our favorite shortcuts to help with back-to-school season:

  1. Quizlet.new makes it easy to learn any subject with study tools like flash cards, practice tests and explanations proven to help with learning.

  2. Kahoot.new allows you to easily create and host educational games on any topic.

  3. Slides.new makes it easy to create a presentation for that big school project.

  4. Fundraiser.new lets you design and sell custom apparel for your next school fundraiser.

Any company or organization can register its own .new domain. Get inspired at whats.new/shortcuts.

Pharaoh’s Conclave levels up opportunity in gaming

It’s far from just fun and (video) games:  esports is a rapidly-growing $1.5 billion industry.In 2020 alone, there was a 70% increase in the number of eSports viewers in the U.S., and it’s expected to total 474 million viewers by the end of this year.There are a range of lucrative careers in the competitive video gaming industry:  professional player, announcer, coach, tournament organizer and game developer and designer, just to name a few. But not everyone is exposed to these opportunities. 


As a lifelong gaming enthusiast and an educator with a PhD in computer science, I was concerned that Black and Brown school-aged kids and older youth weren’t being drawn to work in technology in general and esports in particular. While Black and Latinx youth in the U.S. spend more time per day on both mobile and console games than white youth, they make up less than 6% of the professional video game industry as adults. So my husband, Erich, and I founded Pharaoh's Conclave (PCX), a platform, league and apprenticeship program that creates pathways for meaningful careers and wealth generation for Black and Brown youth.  

Pharaoh’s Conclave cofounders Jakita O. Thomas, Ph.D. (left) and Erich P. Thomas (right) stand next to each other, looking at camera.

Jakita O. Thomas, Ph.D. (left) and Erich P. Thomas (right), cofounders of Pharaoh’s Conclave

Pharaoh's Conclave is on a mission to prepare the next generation of the esports workforce — and open opportunities to marginalized communities — by providing K-12 and collegiate youth with access to industry tools, training and professional mentors. By connecting PCX youth with mentors who understand firsthand the way these students move through the world, we’re able to foster organic relationships that create impact and opportunities in the industry. More than 50 PCX program graduates have gone on to full-time careers in esports, transitioning from mentee to mentor. You make real change by starting at the grade level and giving youth the steps to achievement, all with the critical support of the community behind them. 

Working with kids is similar to raising kids: it takes a village. We understood that PCX couldn’t change the face of esports alone — and we also knew that tech is grappling with the same diversity problems as the gaming industry. Less than ​​1%of total venture capital funding in the United States went to Black founders in 2020. Receiving a $100,000 non-dilutive cash award from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund not only empowered us to create economic opportunities for Black and Brown youth, but also fueled wealth generation in our community. Collectively, in just six months the first group of the Black Founders Fund recipients raised an additional $38 million in outside capital.

The investment from Google paved the way for additional wins, including a grant from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, several new partnerships, and requests from multiple county and state entities across the Southeast to provide programming for K-12  and college students. The support empowered us to generate revenues from Level Up Academy (our online learning platform) and hire a professional software design team.  We’ve also established a formal apprenticeship program with the U.S. Department  of Labor the first of its kind for gaming. 

When you solve problems for the most marginalized people, you actually solve problems for everyone. When you fund Black founders, you elevate the entire community.  We will push the industry forward by working together — and by saving competition for the games themselves, instead of for access to the gaming industry. 

Partnering with Google for Startups helped us redefine community

It seems like yesterday when I launched Centraal to serve as a meeting point for the Mexico City startup world: a place where people from different walks of life meet, collaborate and facilitate the flow of ideas and innovation. Eight years in, we are proud to be one of the leading tech hubs in Latin America, having helped more than 25,000 entrepreneurs — more than 40% of whom identify as women — through our coding school, corporate innovation programs, Google for Startups Accelerators and coworking spaces. 


Centraal is an active member of an international network of 75 Google for Startups partners that foster the development of entrepreneurship around the world. We provide access to exclusive Google programming, insights and support for underrepresented founders in our area. Today, thanks to Google for Startups’ support, our work at Centraal is more vital than ever as founders, developers, startups and organizations of all types and sizes throughout Mexico and Latin America require support to bounce back from COVID-19.


Over 1.01 million startups and small businesses folded last year because of the pandemic. As a company whose signature offering is physical space, the need to close our doors during the pandemic not only affected our resident entrepreneurs but also challenged our own business model. How could we define and build community in a COVID-19 — and, hopefully soon, post-COVID-19 — era? Last week, we virtually assembled 24 startup organizations from across Canada, the U.S. and Latin America to answer this very question during our annual Google for Startups Americas Partner Summit. 


Local leaders, including myself, facilitated 12 breakout discussions over two days, discussing subjects like how to develop team culture virtually and the evolving norms of physical coworking spaces. Google guest speakers, like Fionnuala Bryne, director of facilities, and Candice Morgan, GV’s diversity, equity and inclusion partner, discussed the future of work and equity in our startup environments. Google for Startups Black Founders Fund recipient Viledge hosted a virtual “happy hour” that highlighted products made by Black-owned businesses. 


While this year’s experience looked different than the inaugural Americas Partner Summit we hosted here in Mexico City back in 2017, the takeaways remained the same: shared best practices, friendly smiles and advice and incredible encouragement to go on. 

Three men smile at the camera with a city skyline backdrop behind them.

Centraal CEO Rogelio Cuevas (far left) in Mexico City in 2019 with fellow Google for Startups partners Martin Frankel and Pablo Cardozo from AreaTres.

Google for Startups has not only helped redefine my idea of community, but also connected me to a community of ideas. These ideas are what will allow us, sooner rather than later, to redefine our goals for a post-pandemic world. At times, the pressure to help startups as well as my own team adapt to a constantly evolving situation has felt exhausting. But virtually collaborating with my peers has given me the energy I need to push through for the entrepreneurs who depend on us.  In 2020, Centraal supported 24 startups from across Latin America via the fully-remote Google for Startups Accelerator LATAM, and Google for Startups partners around the world  helped more than 66,000 founders adapt to the new normal with virtual resources and trainings.


While there is no substitute for finally seeing an old friend in person, knowing I can connect with my fellow Google for Startups partners from Montreal to Buenos Aires through our annual summit or our monthly calls makes me feel like I am not going through this alone. I am grateful to Google for Startups for keeping the dialogue open to sustain those meaningful relationships on a personal and professional level, and build new ones, especially in times like these. 


While the day-to-day nature of coworking will continue to evolve to fit the changing needs of entrepreneurs, our mission — and community — remain steadfast. Startups will continue to solve the world’s problems with agility and grace, and it is a privilege to support them along the way. 

A new generation of Korean startups

In Korea today, a new generation of startup founders are making their mark — continuing Korea’s long tradition of forward-thinking in technology, building a more diverse Korean economy and contributing to the recovery from COVID-19. 


Supporting these founders is a priority for Google in Korea, part of our mission to help improve Koreans’ lives and give Korean businesses a platform to grow. In 2015, we established a Google for Startups Campus in Seoul — our first in the Asia-Pacific region — to support founders and create a sense of community among startups. And in 2019,  we launched ChangGoo, a training and mentorship program for startups with high potential and ambitions to expand internationally. So far, startups that have graduated from the program have seen their revenue increase by more than 50%, while more than 40% have taken their first steps overseas. In 2020, ChangGoo became an official partnership with the South Korean government, and we recently finalized the group of startups that will take part in 2021.  


The startups we work with through ChangGoo are confronting issues and solving problems that affect millions of Koreans —  and many more people around the world. To get a sense of what drives them, we asked for perspectives from the founders of Mfort, creator of a platform to help working mothers access childcare, and Ringle, which is using technology to help people with difficulties learning new languages.  


Jeeyea Chung 정지예, Mom Sitter

a photo of Mom Sitter founder Jeeyea Chung in a business suit, sitting at an office table next to some white flowers

My colleague suddenly left the meeting room where we were preparing the final presentation for an important project. I took a short break and heard her on the phone in the restroom on my way back. She was brilliant and considered a role model among her peers, but she sounded tearful when talking on the phone. Her child had a fever and she was begging her mom to go collect them from school, because she couldn’t leave work — and neither could her husband. 


That happened in 2012, when I was 26, and it came as a big shock. I aspired to build my career at the same consultancy, have a family like hers and raise beautiful children while doing a great job at work. 


My married friends were thinking seriously about whether they had to quit work when they had a baby, even before they were pregnant. My co-workers with children had depression, or became anxious that there was no quota at a daycare center. They felt weary trying to balance doing a good job with taking good care of their children as a working mom. At the national level, it all added up: Korea’s female activity rate is very low compared to other OECD countries, affecting productivity despite significant investments in education.  


I realized I wanted to find a way to address this challenge, and that awakening led me to create Mom Sitter: a platform that connects parents with babysitters.  After working hard to grow user numbers to 850,000, and becoming the leading platform in the nation, we wanted to expand further with a mobile app. The ChangGoo program gave us support with technology development, access to educational seminars and help with app and YouTube marketing — enabling us to increase awareness of our brand. It was a proud moment when we were selected as a top service in the second year of Changoo, and earned the top ranking in the Play Store’s childcare category for Korea. 


I’ve realized that childcare issues concern not only working women but also all those who raise children, including dads and grandparents.. If they have strong backup , they can finish the childcare marathon, just as Mom Sitter has gained energy from Google’s support in the competitive startup environment. 


Seunghoon Lee 이승훈, Ringle

A photo of Ringle founder Seunghoon Lee, looking directly at the camera, wearing a navy jacket with the Ringle logo on.

I believe many of us living and working in non-English speaking countries must have the same frustration —  that if only we spoke better English, we might enjoy a whole new world of opportunities. At school, I didn’t spend much time learning English with a native speaker – perhaps 10 hours spread over 12 years of learning. At college, I couldn’t find a good language learning service to close the gap with more fluent English-speakers who’d spent time overseas. 


My frustration peaked in my mid-30s. While doing an MBA at Stanford and seeing others experience the same challenges, I worked with a buddy I met on campus to create a product that could help improve English communication skills through one-on-one lessons with student tutors. 


We had early success and attracted our first investors, but increasing users was a unique challenge. To expand quickly, we had to market Ringle to people who might want to use the service while simultaneously adding helpful new features. Google helped us with search engine optimization and marketing support — then we were awarded a grant of KRW 23 million ($220,000) under the ChangGoo program, helping us expand even faster.


Ringle has grown three-fold every year for the past five years. We recently closed a funding round that valued us at $180 million and opened a US headquarters in Silicon Valley. We’re looking forward to continuing to strengthen our bond with Google as we seek to become the platform of choice for English learners in non-English-speaking countries. 

Season 3 of the ‘Founded’ podcast is here

In October 2020, Women Techmakers, in collaboration with Google for Startups, launched Founded, a podcast highlighting women entrepreneurs from all over the world. This week, the series returns with six new episodes, sharing advice and experiences from women who’ve lived the entrepreneurial journey. Ahead of the new season, we took time to chat with one of our podcast interviewees, Lateesha Thomas.

Headshot of Lateesha Thomas, Founder of Onramp

Lateesha Thomas, Founder of Onramp

What were you doing before launching Onramp?

I spent several years working in the coding bootcamp industry, where I saw thousands of graduates complete intensive programs with the promise of a new career at the end of that journey. But I learned that even if candidates managed to acquire a baseline set of technical skills that should give them a competitive edge in the job market, they still faced significant bias due to hiring practices in the industry. Companies have spent years scaling traditional hiring methods like industry and university recruiting, and those processes filter out a lot of capable candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. And  it's within these non-traditional pipelines where more diverse candidates can be found. 

I realized that if we wanted to make meaningful inroads on this problem, we needed to build the bridge backward from the company to the candidates and encourage businesses to invest in workforce development and candidate upskilling. My co-founder and I saw a gap in the market, so we decided to fill it.


Tell us more about Onramp.

Onramp is a workforce development platform connecting companies, candidates and employees and education providers more holistically. We grow talent pools and onboard candidates for companies while also increasing the racial and gender diversity of those talent pools by helping underrepresented candidates be more competitive in the recruiting process. We're not the first to say this, but the diversity pipeline problem truly is a myth. We've seen the depth of diverse talent, and we know access to opportunities grows when there’s a willingness to maximize the potential of these candidates. So the solution isn't as simple as "let's find more Black, Latinx, Women, Non-Binary, etc., candidates and teach them to code," it's fixing broken hiring processes that lock the door to candidates who have the skills. 


How can we elevate the voices of women founders? 

Storytelling is a great way to introduce new ideas to people. Sharing my story on the Founded podcast will hopefully show other women who are thinking of launching products or businesses that it can be done. I don't have the pedigree of most successful founders. I didn't learn to code at an early age and hack and tinker for fun. I didn't study computer science in college. I didn't go to Harvard or Stanford business school. My resume isn't stacked with name-brand tech companies or startups to give me credibility. I worked hard to carve a niche for myself in an industry that spoke to my personal experience and built something to solve a problem I personally experienced. And now I run a venture-backed company. I think it's important for aspiring entrepreneurs to know that there's no one right way to start this journey and that there's a path for them if they're willing to do the work to pave it.


What more needs to be done to level the playing field for women founders? 

Funding. Only2.3% of venture capital (VC) funding went to women-founded companies in 2020, a decrease from the previous year. Things are getting worse, not better. Black founders receive around 1% of VC funding, and as you can imagine being at the intersection of those two groups, things are abysmal. I think everyone wants to talk about progress, and don't get me wrong, there are definitely exciting things happening for Black and women founders. But we're still pushing a boulder up a mountain, and it's exhausting.


What advice do you have for founders?

I think the sooner you can tap into a community to support you on your journey, the easier it will be for you. Whether that's a social network like Elpha or Hello Alice or an accelerator program (we did the Bridge to Success program with Juvo Ventures last winter, another Black/women-led VC), you need somewhere to go for advice, resources, mentorship and commiseration. 


You can hear more from Lateesha in the latest series of Founded on Google Podcasts or wherever you listen.

Supporting LGBTQ+ spaces on the road to recovery

When I first moved to the United States from India, I visited Chicago’s Northalsted area (also known as “Boystown”), an LGBTQ+ neighborhood. I was still in the process of coming out, and I was amazed to see so many businesses welcoming the LGBTQ+ community and building a space that felt safe. For the first time, I felt comfortable in my skin as a gay man and experienced the feeling of truly belonging.


This past year, LGBTQ+ businesses and service organizations — that are at the heart of LGBTQ+ life — were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. These businesses are more than just bars, restaurants, bookstores, salons or health clinics. They’re places of validation where LGBTQ+ folks are able to gather, find community, commiserate in tough times and celebrate the good times. 


That’s why Google is continuing to show up year-round with dedicated resources to help small and medium-sized businesses — owned by or serving the LGBTQ+ community — on their road to recovery. 

A moving image that starts with the rainbow pride flag (red, orage, yellow, green, blue, purple) and text “Show that your business is LGBTQ friendly on Google”. Next a Google Business Profile page with the rainbow flag and LGBTQ frienldy badge. Last image is the Google logo

New hub for LGBTQ-friendly small businesses and LGBTQ+ business owners

We’re launching a new LGBTQ+ small business resource hub where small business owners can learn about our growing number of product features that help the LGBTQ+ community find safe and welcoming spaces. Businesses like Nos Casa Cafe in Roxbury, Massachusetts and Orhan London Tailoring in London, UK proudly show they are “LGBTQ friendly” on their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps. Others like gc2b, a Black and Latinx transgender-owned company, use Google Ads to reach and help the trans community worldwide.

We’re also connecting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with StartOut, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit organization that helps facilitate mentorship, access to capital and tools to create an equitable playing field for the community. 

Tools and resources for LGBTQ+ business owners 

Our economic opportunity initiative, Grow with Google, is helping LGBTQ+ small businesses, like TomboyX, learn how to use digital tools that can drive business growth. We’re partnering with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the “business voice of the LGBT community,” to provide their network of affiliate chambers with training curriculums and resources that help small businesses adapt, grow and better serve their community. Together over the next year, we’ll deliver more than 100 digital skills workshops for LGBTQ+ small businesses. 

Supporting Black LGBTQ+ founders

StartOut's Pride Economic Impact Index shows that over the last 20 years, "out" LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs in the U.S. raised only about 10% as much funding as their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. This is why Google for Startups is committed to fostering a global startup community that’s diverse and inclusive, leading to more equitable outcomes for underrepresented groups. 


Earlier this month, we announced the second $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in the U.S., which was created to spur economic opportunity for Black entrepreneurs who are consistently locked out of access to capital. StartOut is nominating founders from their community to receive up to $100,000 non-dilutive cash investments, in addition to other benefits like free access to Google products and mentorship.

A group of seven racially diverse and gender expansive people stand together lovingly in front of a red and white mural at Junior High.

Space to belong

In January 2020, before COVID-19 spread worldwide, U.S. search interest for “lgbt friendly” had reached an all-time high. But by March, search interest for “lgbt friendly” dropped dramatically as the pandemic shut down small businesses and gathering places around the country.


This summer, Google is launching a global campaign to help support and celebrate LGBTQ+ friendly spaces on their road to recovery – from queer and trans owned auto repair shops to historic gay bars and community art centers. You can learn more at our Pride hub: pride.google.

Today I live in the Castro, a neighborhood at the heart of San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ community. Like most people, I have my neighborhood go-tos, a coffee shop where I’m always greeted with a smile and a friendly bark from customers’ dogs that gather outside in the morning. Across the street are other beloved neighborhood restaurants and shops that are LGBTQ+ friendly, many of which were empty or less vibrant during the pandemic. That’s why at Google we feel strongly about supporting LGBTQ+ friendly businesses and safe spaces so that we can build towards a world that fosters belonging for all. 

4 resilience lessons from Spanish travel startups

2020 was a difficult year for the travel and tourism sector, but it was also a year of learning how to use technology to better understand and respond to the evolving needs of consumers.


Our Google for Startups Growth Academy: TravelTech program in Spain, where the travel industry accounts for 12% of the national GDP, supported travel startups with digital skills and tools to build resilience for their businesses, so they can overcome challenges brought by travel restrictions. It also shows them how to use data to adapt their product offerings to match the changing needs of travelers. The program included sessions with Google mentors and travel industry experts; 90% of these startups reporting revenue growth and an increase in recruiting, and expanding their business to new international markets. 


Here are four lessons 12 travel and tourism startups learned from the program.

1. Go with the flow.

If there is one thing that defines a startup, it is the ability to adapt, and to adapt fast. Andrea Cayon, co-founder of Passporter, appreciated learning from other startup founders and Google analysts on how to analyze changes in travel demand and respond to travelers’ new preferences, like outdoor and nature destinations. Passporter helps people improve their travel experiences by sharing socially curated itineraries and trip recommendations. For Andrea, having access to a startup founder community that fosters knowledge and experience sharing is key to growing her business. 


This level of networking and knowledge-sharing with other entrepreneurs didn’t exist two decades ago when Destinia, another travel startup participating in the program, was founded. "There were no doors to knock on, no one to ask for advice,” says Destinia's co-founder, Amuda Goueli. “You could waste a whole year if you chose the wrong route." That’s why, for Goueli, being part of a community like Google for Startups helps her find and test new ideas on how to grow her business.

A group of people standing around a laptop computer, which is sitting on a desk. One man in a gray sweater is speaking and the rest of the group is listening.

Triporate team at Google for Startups Campus, 2018

2. Turn problems into opportunities.

Big challenges require big solutions. The pandemic forced entrepreneurs to do something that is not in their DNA: take a step back. Many startups acknowledge that they used this forced downtime to rethink their strategies.Triporate, initially an online travel agency focused on business trips, pivoted to becoming a platform offering technology solutions for traditional travel agencies to make their processes more efficient. Transparent, a startup helping tourist destinations improve their online presences to reach more potential visitors, took a step back to rethink their strategy. As its CEO Pierre Becerril noted, the slow down helped them focus on "things they used to not have time to do before, such as content marketing, localization and improving their site's SEO ranking."

3. Become stronger together. 

Startups can also drive digital transformation for other companies, helping travel agencies and hotels use digital tools to better understand where travel demand is coming from and how to reach new customers. This is the case ofDoinn, a company that manages cleaning services for rental apartments, which, during the pandemic, grew its property base as much as in the previous four years together, by helping traditional cleaning companies become digital. Hotelbreak helped hotels make their facilities profitable by offering day passes and experiences to local visitors to compensate for the lack of night stays. AndSpazious realized that their 3D, 360-degree virtual tours helped hotels increase by 20% the number of website visitors to hotel visitors.
Three people working on laptops while sitting on a purple cushion, divided by a white wall. One person is using a cell phone.

Doinn team working at Campus Madrid, February 2020.

4. Use technology and insights to improve your business strategy.

During the pandemic, technology became a lifeline to help businesses and people stay connected. Using data analysis tools for businesses like Analytics, Firebase, TagManager and Google Search Console help travel insurance Mondo get actionable information on what's going on in the business and data related to travel flows, restrictions and user demands. Thanks to that new data, they've grown 63% in international markets after the lockdown. 

Triporate uses AI to provide their users a complete customer experience. This technology can analyze, by its own, the users demands and respond to them in a very accurate way. To develop this software, Triporate has used Google’s tool TensorFlow. Passporter also uses AI to show their clients photos of destinations and trips they are interested in. They can impact the users in this way thanks to Google Vision tool. Transparent focuses most of the technology they use in data analytics. That’s why they work with Google Data Studio, to provide their clients (normally institutions and governments) with important insights about travel flows in their action area. 

At Google for Startups, we continue to promote entrepreneurial talent because we believe that startups are key to foster economic growth. The travel industry was disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and yet used digital tools to build resilience and adaptability so they can come back stronger.