Tag Archives: Entrepreneurs

Celebrating 10 years of Google for Startups in the UK

I remember clearly the palpable sense of excitement at the Google for Startups Campus in London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ when I first visited in 2012. My first startup, back in Krakow Poland, had shut down after three years of solid early traction, and I moved to London in pursuit of bigger opportunities, a community and capital to fuel growth. The UK quickly became home, and my London Campus experience was so positive I ended up joining Google six years later.

As we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Google for Startups UK, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the entrepreneurs and teams who have blazed a trail, and looking ahead to ensure we’re helping create the right conditions for future founders.

The industry has grown exponentially since Google for Startups UK launched 10 years ago – this year, we’ve already seen UK tech startups and scaleups cumulatively valued at more than $1 trillion (£794bn); up from $53.6 billion (£46bn), ten years ago.

One area of the UK tech startup community that has flourished in particular is impact tech - defined as . companies founded to help address global challenges like climate change and help transform health, education and financial inclusion. Our new report created in partnership with Tech Nation, A Decade of UK Tech, shows that funding for impact tech startups has soared. In fact, since 2011, funding for impact tech companies addressing UN Sustainable Development Goals has risen 43-fold from just $74 million (£59 million) to $3.5 billion (£2.8 billion).

Graph: Investment into impact tech scaleups (2011-2021)

Graph 1: Investment into impact tech scaleups (2011-2021)

Source: Tech Nation, Dealroom, 2022

Startups are helping to solve global challenges, like climate change, education, health, food and sanitation, with agility, innovation and determination. And at Google for Startups, we’re proud to be supporting these businesses along the way by connecting founders with the right people, products and practices to help them grow. Because their continued success is vital not just for the UK’s future, but that of the world.

Enduring market barriers and perceptions of high risk can slow private sector investment. But even such challenges create a multitude of new opportunities for tech startups to leverage the UK's position as a financial services powerhouse. Elizabeth Nyeko
Founder of Modularity Grid - A deep tech startup

Google for Startups was launched in the UK with a mission to support a thriving, diverse and inclusive startup community. Here’s where we are a decade later:

  • Startups in our community have created more than 24,000 jobs
  • Startups in our network have raised £358 million
  • We supported 20 UK-based Black-led startups with the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Europe. Last year's European cohort went on to raise £64 million in subsequent funding and increase their headcount by 21%

Our work at Google for Startups is far from over. We’re committed to levelling the playing field for all founders, and closing the disproportionate gap in access to capital and support networks for underrepresented communities. For the impact tech sector to continue to grow and succeed, we must ensure funding is channeled towards the most innovative startups - no matter their valuation, funding stage or background.

Find out more at Google for Startups.

An accelerator for early-stage Latino founders

After 10 years of working with early-stage founders at Google for Startups, I’ve seen time and time again how access activates potential. Access to capital is the fuel that makes startups go, access to community keeps them running, and access to mentorship helps them navigate the road to success.

But access to the resources needed to grow one's business are still not evenly distributed. Despite being the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., only 3% of Latino-owned companies ever reach $1 million in revenue. As part of our commitment to support the Latino founder community, today we're announcing a new partnership with Visible Hands, a Boston-based venture capital firm dedicated to investing in the potential of underrepresented founders.

During last year’s Google for Startups Founders Academy, I met Luis Suarez, a founder and fellow Chicagoan whose startup, Sanarai, addresses the massive gap in Spanish- speaking mental health providers in the U.S. Sanarai connects Latinos to therapists in Latin American countries for virtual sessions in their native language. When I asked Luis about the most helpful programs he had participated in, he highly recommended Visible Hands. The program gave Luis the opportunity to work alongside a community of diverse founders to grow his startup and have also helped him craft his early fundraising strategy. Visible Hands also supplies stipends to their participants, helping founders who might otherwise not be able to take the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.

Inspired by feedback from founders like Luis, Google for Startups is partnering with Visible Hands to run a 20-week fellowship program, VHLX, to better support the next wave of early-stage Latino founders across the U.S. and to create greater economic opportunity for the Latino community. In addition to hands-on support from Google and industry experts, we are providing $10,000 in cash for every VHLX participant to help kickstart their ideas. Following the program, founders will have the opportunity to receive additional investment from Visible Hands, up to $150,000.

Our work with Visible Hands and our recent partnership with eMerge Americas is part of a$7 million commitment to increase representation and support of the Latino startup community. I’m also looking forward to the Google for Startups Latino Leaders Summit in Miami this June, where in partnership with Inicio Ventures we’re bringing together around 30 top community leaders and investors from across the country to discuss how we can collectively support Latino founders in ways that will truly make a difference. And soon, we'll share the recipients Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund.

If you or someone you know would be a great fit for VHLX, encourage them to apply by June 24.

Meet the entrepreneur connecting Kenyans to healthy food

When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.

Worried that her gender would affect Hasanat Ventures’ reputation, Binti considered hiring a man as the face of the business. But she eventually decided against it, standing firm in her pride as a solo founder and committed to tearing down the perception that women-run businesses in Africa aren't as successful as those run by men.

“I think we should be challenging the outdated narrative that businesses run by men are guaranteed to be more successful,” Binti says. “Based on research, we've seen that businesses run by women actually perform better. We should use this as an opportunity to prove that as a woman, you do stand a chance to succeed in everything that you do.”

Just as important to Binti as breaking this bias was giving Kenyans more access to affordable nutrition. “I realized that many people couldn’t afford premium yogurt. So we entered the market with a high-quality product that’s affordable for lower and middle-income earners who have become more health-conscious,” she says.

Binti knew she had to drive awareness for her brand, particularly to reach Kenyans who needed convincing about yogurt’s health benefits. So she turned to Google Digital Skills for Africa, which offers virtual classes to help entrepreneurs grow their skills and businesses, and completed a digital marketing course to help her get Hasanat Ventures online.

“After participating in the course, we knew our online presence had to be bigger than just social media,” Binti says. “Now that we have a fully functional website, we are actually getting leads from outside Kenya.”

As part of the course, Binti learned how to use Google Analytics to measure her website’s performance. She could now monitor traffic insights, analyze pageviews and better understand who was visiting her site.

Binti’s determination and passion for her business are showing up in the results. In its first year, Hasanat Ventures supplied over 300 retailers with affordable dairy products. Three years later, it’s grown to support more than 50 farmers and even built its own production facility to keep up with demand.

“I really want to make sure that I am visible and speaking up in spaces women don’t usually have access to,” Binti says. “As Hasanat Ventures continues to grow, I am confident I can help change the perception of African women in business.”

58% of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. Learn more about our #LookMeUp campaign, highlighting Africa’s women entrepreneurs like Binti who are working to break the bias.

This YouTuber wants to bring financial literacy to Africans

Nicolette Mashile wanted to find a more fulfilling career. So in 2016, she resigned from her job as a Client Service Director at a Johannesburg advertising agency. But quitting meant Nicolette was forced to stick to a stricter budget.

She began sharing her money-saving tips on YouTube and it wasn’t long before she noticed her advice resonated with African viewers. Eventually, this South African content creator built a significant following for her candid take on money management, and was invited to join the #YouTubeBlackVoices Creator Class of 2021. This in turn helped herFinancial Bunny YouTube channel garner almost 9 million views.

“I was very frank about money management, how to effectively budget and how to plan your spending. When I saw my YouTube following growing, I knew this personal finance advice was making a real impact and I committed to improving financial literacy in South Africa,” Nicolette says.

This meant finding creative ways to make financial literacy more inclusive and accessible while also removing the stigma attached to discussing personal finance. Nicolette spun her YouTube success into two books — one for adults titled “What’s Your Move,” and another for children, “Coco the Money Bunny.”

“When I created the books, I had to develop a new website so it was important to identify our different customer types and implement search engine optimization. I needed to do research to understand the target customers and develop the website to meet their needs and Google Ads was a promotional channel I experimented with,” Nicolette added.

But it was the launch of her Save or Spend board game and subsequent app that sparked her shift towards technology.

“I’d successfully leveraged digital media to share financial content, so naturally it made sense to use the power of tech to design an interactive app that could simplify money management in a fun and engaging way,” she says.

Using gamification helped to take away the seriousness around money while also addressing the lack of financial education in South Africa. In a digital era where most Africans own a smartphone rather than a laptop, Nicolette knew a free app would be an accessible tool to teach people about money. Her app has proven popular due in large part to the massive following she has built online since launching her YouTube channel back in 2017.

Nicolette’s also grown her business to include consultancy and coaching, and she relies a lot on Google Meets for some of her sessions.

“My consultancy work with brands and corporate individuals means I use video calling quite often and for this I use Google Meets. I do one-on-one coaching with multiple clients per month and it’s super simple to just send a link and jump on a call because people can log in from anywhere,” she says.

Ultimately, Nicolette hopes to continue empowering her followers by arming them with the tools and skills they need to better manage their money. “I want to keep encouraging South Africans to have the difficult discussions people often avoid around personal finance.”

Fifty-eight percent of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. #LookMeUp is a call for all to #BreakTheBias. Find out more here.

Meet 11 startups working to combat climate change

We believe that technology and entrepreneurship can help avert the world’s climate crisis. Startup founders are using tools — from machine learning to mobile platforms to large scale data processing — to accelerate the change to a low-carbon economy. As part ofGoogle’s commitment to address climate change, we’ll continue to invest in the technologists and entrepreneurs who are working to build climate solutions.

So this Earth Day, we’re announcing the second Google for Startups Accelerator: Climate Change cohort. This ten-week program consists of intensive workshops and expert mentorship designed to help growth-stage, sustainability-focused startups learn technical, product and leadership best practices. Meet the 11 selected startups using technology to better our planet:

  • AmpUpin Cupertino, California: AmpUp is an electric vehicle (EV) software company and network provider that helps drivers, hosts, and fleets to charge stress-free.
  • Carbon Limitin Boca Raton, Florida: Carbon Limit transforms concrete into a CO2 sponge with green cement nanotechnology, turning roads and buildings into permanent CO2 solutions.
  • ChargeNet Stationsin Los Angeles, California: ChargeNet Stations aims to make charging accessible and convenient in all communities, preventing greenhouse gas emissions through use of PV + storage.
  • ChargerHelp!In Los Angeles, California: ChargerHelp! provides on-demand repair of electric vehicle charging stations, while also building out local workforces, removing barriers and creating economic mobility within all communities.
  • CO-Zin Boulder, Colorado: CO-Z accelerates electricity decarbonization and empowers renters, homeowners and businesses with advanced control, automated savings and power failure protection.
  • Community Energy Labsin Portland, Oregon: Community Energy Labs uses artificial intelligence to make smart energy management and decarbonization both accessible and affordable for community building owners.
  • Moment Energyin Vancouver, British Columbia: Moment Energy repurposes retired electric vehicle (EV) batteries to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy storage.
  • Mi Terroin City of Industry, California: Mi Terro is a synthetic biology and advanced material company that creates home compostable, plastic-alternative biomaterials made from plant-based agricultural waste.
  • Nithioin Washington, DC: Nithio is an AI-driven platform for clean energy investment that standardizes credit risk to catalyze capital to address climate change and achieve universal energy access.
  • Re Companyin New York City, New York: Re Company is a reusable packaging subscription service that supplies reuse systems with optimally designed containers and cycles them back into the supply chain at end of life.
  • Understoryin Pacific Grove, California: Understory rapidly monitors and quantifies discrete landscape changes to mitigate the effects of environmental change and deliver actionable information for land management, habitat conservation and climate risk assessment.

When the program kicks off this summer, startups will receive mentoring and technical support tailored to their business through a mix of one-to-one and one-to-many learning sessions, both remotely and in-person, from Google engineers and external experts. Stay tuned on Google for Startups social channels to see their experience unfold over the next three months.

Learn more about Google for Startups Accelerator here, and the latest on Google’s commitment to sustainability here.

Transforming Miami into the tech hub of the Americas

As the “gateway to Latin America,” it’s no wonder more entrepreneurs from around the world are choosing to build and grow their businesses in Miami. Florida added 119,000 jobs in the tech and e-commerce industries between 2017 and 2021, and Miami startups raised close to $1 billion in venture funding in 2020 alone.

Ever since establishing local operations in Miami more than ten years ago, Google has been proud to help make tech entrepreneurship accessible in the Sunshine State. In 2021, Google helped provide $31 billion of economic activity for hundreds of thousands of Florida businesses, hosted aSales Academy for Florida entrepreneurs, and most recently, announced a partnership with Miami-Dade County to help train low-income residents for in-demand tech jobs.

While Miami is quickly establishing itself as a global tech hub, we need to continue bridging divides to build a sustainable and inclusive startup community. Yesterday at the annual eMerge Americas summit — which, along with Miami Tech Summit, is the cornerstone of the ongoing Miami Tech Week — Google for Startups announced it is partnering with eMerge Americas over the next year to deepen Google’s support for the Latino founder community across the Americas. eMerge Americas is a leading organization growing the South Florida entrepreneurial and tech world through year-round executive summits, innovation challenges, startup pitch competitions, masterclasses and webinars. Our partnership will bring the best of Google’s products, programming and expertise to eMerge startups, and will help connect the Latin American and U.S. markets by combining our networks of support.

As part of our announcement, I was personally honored to name two of the first recipients of the Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund, an award we introduced last year as part of a$7 million commitment to the Latino startup community. Dani Vega and Francisco Cornejo, co-founders of Storybook, an app that helps parents combine bedtime stories with infant massage to improve sleep in babies and children, will receive $100,000 in non-dilutive cash funding. Originally from Ecuador and now both Miami residents and active members of the eMerge community, Dani and Francisco will also receive Cloud credits and hands-on Google programming and support to help bring Storybook resources to families around the world. We look forward to working with Storybook, and are excited to announce the other recipients of the Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund later this year.

By connecting the dots — between talent, capital, partner organizations like eMerge Americas and entrepreneurs like Dani and Francisco — we can foster the kind of diverse startup communities that fuel innovation and create opportunity, in Miami, Latin America and beyond.

A program for European startups building with Cloud

After years of working for a successful beverage company, I knew e-commerce was becoming ever more popular. I’d also witnessed the power of Google Assistant in day-to-day life, and wondered: Could an AI voice assistant help e-commerce retailers better connect customers with products? So I founded my company Yosh.AI to help retail companies connect shoppers with their ideal products through Cloud technology and artificial intelligence (AI) assisted voice search.

However, with a background in corporate marketing rather than entrepreneurship, I had to learn everything from scratch: about AI, building a startup and growing the business. I found the knowledge, inspiration and mentorship I sought through the Google for Startups Accelerator, a three-month, equity-free program of intensive workshops and expert mentorship for growth-stage tech companies.

Our main goal during Google for Startups Accelerator was technical mentorship and growth. We hoped to develop close working relationships with Google Cloud throughout Europe. Google for Startups mentors introduced us to the right person at Google Cloud Germany, which led to meeting key teams at Google UK, Google France and Google in the Middle East and North Africa to expand across the region. Accelerator mentorship also led to Yosh.AI becoming a Google Cloud partner, helping retailers grow their e-commerce offerings by showing them how to implement Google Cloud technology. In just one year, we have progressed so much thanks to the key connections and product support forged during the program.

Now, I’m proud to help announce Google for Startups Accelerator: Cloud, designed to help startups building with Google Cloud learn technical, product and leadership best practices. Open for seed to Series A-stage startups based in Europe and Israel, Google for Startups Accelerator: Cloud offers 10 weeks of mentoring and technical support from Google engineers and external experts through a mix of 1-to-1 and 1-to-many learning sessions. Participants will also be paired with a dedicated Startup Success Manager for further personalized support.

The program culminates in a virtual Demo Day, during which the group can showcase their work in front of Google teams, mentors, investors, partners and others from the European startup world. After the program wraps up, startups will continue to receive Google support via the Google for Startups Accelerator alumni program and network — a community I am still active in myself.

A huge part of where I am today is because of Google for Startups support. As a female founder from a post-communist country, I had dreams but was not sure how to make them happen. Google for Startups connected me to other entrepreneurs and mentors who not only believed in me, but also helped me believe in myself. I encourage all interested founders to similarly set themselves up for success and apply to Google for Startups Accelerator: Cloud before the deadline on April 19.

Extending our support to Ukrainian startups

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has been devastating to witness. Much like the rest of the international community, our response has evolved as the circumstances have developed. In addition to supporting the refugee crisis and fighting misinformation, we’re investing in Ukraine’s people and businesses.

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

Ukraine has a strong and vibrant startup community. Of the roughly 2000 startups in Ukraine, 126 startups have raised venture capital funding since the beginning of 2021. Yesterday, our CEO Sundar Pichai met with a number of these Ukrainian entrepreneurs at our Google for Startups Campus Warsaw. Through these conversations, we heard practical ways that Google could help the startup community.

Funding is only one element of the support that is required. We’ve invited Ukrainian startups to use Google for Startups Campus Warsaw space as a temporary office. The first few startups — predominantly run by women who have fled the country — are already working from Campus, and we’ve witnessed their determination to succeed.

Support for Ukrainian-led startups will help them succeed and build the tech that their country needs now. And as the region starts to recover, startups and tech companies will be key to rebuilding the Ukrainian economy, creating jobs, and positively impact the cities they make their homes.

Extending our support to Ukrainian startups

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has been devastating to witness. Much like the rest of the international community, our response has evolved as the circumstances have developed. In addition to supporting the refugee crisis and fighting misinformation, we’re investing in Ukraine’s people and businesses.

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

Ukraine has a strong and vibrant startup community. Of the roughly 2000 startups in Ukraine, 126 startups have raised venture capital funding since the beginning of 2021. Yesterday, our CEO Sundar Pichai met with a number of these Ukrainian entrepreneurs at our Google for Startups Campus Warsaw. Through these conversations, we heard practical ways that Google could help the startup community.

Funding is only one element of the support that is required. We’ve invited Ukrainian startups to use Google for Startups Campus Warsaw space as a temporary office. The first few startups — predominantly run by women who have fled the country — are already working from Campus, and we’ve witnessed their determination to succeed.

Support for Ukrainian-led startups will help them succeed and build the tech that their country needs now. And as the region starts to recover, startups and tech companies will be key to rebuilding the Ukrainian economy, creating jobs, and positively impact the cities they make their homes.

A $4 million fund for Europe’s Black founders

Black founders have long been playing a key role in Europe’s economy by solving challenges with agility, resilience and innovative technology. But we’ve known for a long time that Black founders do not have the same opportunities and support as many others. Less than 0.5 percent of venture capital (VC) funding goes to Black-led startups, despite the fact that 77% of Black-led tech startups generate revenue and create an average of 5.4 jobs each.

When we opened applications for the first $2 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Europe last year, we were blown away by demand. Almost 800 people applied from across Europe, and 30 startups were selected across fintech, healthcare, beauty, gaming, healthcare and commerce. These startups have gone on to raise over $63 million collectively in funding, and hired more than 100 people, since the program began. When given the right opportunities, Black founders thrive.

Since receiving capital from Google in 2021, founders have gone on to raise funding, hire new employees and grow.

Since receiving capital from Google in 20201, founders have gone on to raise funding, hire new employees and grow.

That's why today, we’re launching a second round of investments in the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Europe, a $4 million fund for Black-led tech startups in the region. With double the funding from our inaugural fund, we hope to help even more startups succeed this year.

Established in 2020, the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund provides cash awards — without giving up equity in return — and hands-on support to help Black entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses. The Black Founders Fund has awarded more than $16 million in Europe, Brazil, Africa and the U.S. toward making a resounding impact to help Black-led startups secure funding, strengthen communities and create generational change.

In addition to up to $100,000 (approximately 89,000 Euros) in non-dilutive cash awards, Black Founders Fund recipients receive ongoing Google mentorship and product support to help them navigate every stage of their startup process—including up to $200,000 (approximately 179,000 Euros) in Google Cloud credits.

Founders will also be introduced to each other and the global Google for Startups community of experts for leadership, growth and technical support. This includes partnerships with leading firms to provide specialist support ranging from marketing support from WPP; advice on raising capital from Tier 1 venture capitalists; to donated media campaigns and creative support from national broadcasters like ITV.

Last year’s Black Founders Fund recipients have seen tangible growth and success in the nine months since first receiving the awards. That includes AudioMob, a UK-based startup transforming how game developers are monetizing their games, who recently raised another $14 million; Berlin-based Kwara, which digitizes financial cooperatives to give their members an easier way to manage money and build a credit history, whichraised $4 million in follow-on funding; and Playbrush, a startup based in Vienna, Austria, making oral health care fun by connecting toothbrushes to phones and tablets, which was acquired by Sunstar in September. We can’t wait to see what this year’s cohort will achieve.

Applications for the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Europe are open from today. Black-led startups with a live product in market and early traction are encouraged to apply. Applications will close on April 17th.

To find out more about the program, and to apply, visit this link: https://www.campus.co/europe/black-founders-fund/