Google hosted a special edition of their annual “Demo Day” event, this one featuring early-stage startup companies which were all founded, or co-founded, by women.
All of the startups at Wednesday’s event were already actively raising series-A funding, and collectively had already raised more than $10 million in capital from 40 different investors. The Director of Google for Entrepreneurs pointed out at female founders received only 3 percent of venture capital from 2011 to 2013. “That is to say, during those two years, they received only 1.5 billion of the 50.8 billion dollars of Venture Capital funding deployed “So we’d like to change that.”
The 11 participants that Google selected ultimately from the 450 applicants from 40 countries hailed from 8different countries: Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, UK and the US. Google created a $1 million fund called #40Forward to encourage startup communities to increase the number of women in their programs by 25 percent. “We’ve currently had 10,000 women around the world participate in the fund,” Mary Grove told the audience.
Female founders win big
Each of the female-led startups had four minutes to make their pitch, followed by a chance to answer two questions from the panel of three judges. The “Judge’s Favorite” was selected based on three criteria — the startup’s business model, its team, and its current market traction. But online viewers also selected a “Game Changer,” casting their votes for “the company you believe has the greatest potential to disrupt their industry.”
Google began hosting an annual Demo Day each spring starting in 2014, but this special December edition is the first one to feature an all-female cohort of entrepreneurs. More than 450 women applied for a spot, according to Google’s web page for the event, and from more than 40 different countries.
Game-changer awarded to Kichink; overall winner Mati Energy
Kichink addresses Mexico’s unique e-commerce needs with payment processing and delivery logistics. the overall winner of the event was a fast-growing company named Bridgit (from Canada), which provides a mobile communications platform for construction teams. The winner of April’s Demo Day, the health drink company Mati Energy, “has just announced the construction of the first craft soda [and health drink] facilit
y in the United States”. Mati Energy was also founded by a woman, Tatiana Birgisson, and she was invited back to be the closing speaker for Wednesday’s event.
Ultimately Google’s Demo Day led to a big distribution deal for the company’s caffeinated beverages through Anheuser-Bush and the ability to sell their product on Amazon.
See the live stream
Google shared a live stream of the event online, and the video is still available on YouTube.