“I went to Google Demo Day in San Francisco for the First Time”

by Roya Sabeti, originally published here
This was my first time attending! 🙂

What is Google Demo day?

Each year, Google brings together a group of compelling investable companies, from around the world to highlight innovative technology and drive investment beyond Silicon Valley.

Besides lunch on the beautiful google rooftop….

It’s never actually this sunny in SF!

It’a an opportunity for the participating start-ups to raise some serious funds.

The event is invitation only and an opportunity for partners, investors, influencers and startups from the Google for Entrepreneurs network to gather together.

Google Demo Day is ran by Google for Entrepreneurs.

They provides financial support and the best of Google’s resources to dozens of co-working spaces and community programs across 125 countries. They create Campuses: physical hubs where entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and build companies that will change the world.

Galvanize is proud to be a partner with Google for Entrepreneurs and be able to provide resources to the founders within the community.

Here are the startups that were selected to participate this year…

Amp.it is a digital media platform that helps brands understand who’s watching their content.

Bankjoy provides banking APIs, mobile banking, and online banking to banks/credit unions.

Fathom is a wearable-enabled AI hardware that mitigates injury risk through personalized workouts.

Genivity is an AI platform that tracks and predicts family health risks to help advisors better serve their clients.

Increase is a fin-tech company that empowers businesses, simplifying and modernizing how they control their income.

Linked Senior is an evidence-based therapeutic engagement platform for the older adult in senior care.

Obsess is an AR and VR platform for immersive mobile commerce.

Rowbot’s self-driving machines help farmers boost profits with valuable data.

ShearShare is a mobile platform that provides stylists with access to rent workspace.

Skywatch is a platform that aggregates satellite data, providing developers with access to the world’s best observation data.

Unima provides a fast and low cost diagnostic and disease surveillance technology for low resource settings.

The Judges & Criteria

The Judges!~

From an award winning rapper to seasoned entrepreneurs, and VCs the panel of judges, included Di-Ann Eisnor (Director of Growth, Waze), J.D. Vance (Managing Partner, Rise of the Rest Seed Fund) and Monique Woodard (Venture Capital Investor), and Wasalu Muhammed Jaco (Neighborhood Start Fund).

  • Di-Ann Eisnor is an entrepreneur and angel investor focused on mobility, cities and community who started the US office of Waze in 2009 (acquired by Google, Inc. in 2013). She created the Connected Citizens Program for Waze which is now used by 600+ cities and DOTs around the world using data to reduce congestion and improve emergency response times. She is building a global ecosystem of citizens, governments, and scientists to use technology and data to help societies flourish. Prior to joining Waze/Google, Di-Ann was Co-Founder and CEO of Platial, The People’s Atlas, a collaborative, user generated, cartographic website which enabled people to map the things that are important to them.
  • J.D. Vance is an investor, commentator, and bestselling author of Hillbilly Elegy, described by the National Review as a “brilliant book” and by the Economist as “one of the most important” reads of 2016. Raised by his working class grandparents in Middletown, Ohio, J.D. graduated from Middletown High School in 2003 and then immediately enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After a stint at a large corporate law firm, J.D. moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry. He serves as a principal at the leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mithril Capital, cofounded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. As an investor, JD has taken a special interest in the biotechnology industry and other transformative sectors of the economy. He recently became a partner at Revolution to work on Rise of the Rest, Revolution’s nationwide effort to work closely with entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems.
  • Monique Woodard is an early stage investor at the intersection of technology and newly powerful consumer groups. Her investments as an angel investor and Venture Partner at 500 Startups include Blavity, Silvernest, Mented, Printivo, and many others. Monique is the co-founder of Black Founders and has had a career that includes entrepreneur and operating experience across mobile, media, online retail, and government technology.
  • Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco, is a Chicago-born, Grammy award-winning American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and community advocate. As the cofounder and co-owner of community initiatives such as, We Are M.U.R.A.L (Magnifying Urban Realities & Affecting Lives) and The Neighborhood Start-Up Fund, Lupe Fiasco proves that he is more than just a mouthpiece for change, but a committed facilitator of intellectual community discourse and outreach. We Are M.U.R.A.L provides nurturing meals and winter clothing to inner-city youth, while fostering artistic and academic excellence in their respective neighborhoods. The foundation soon became the catalyst for The Neighborhood Start-up Fund, which encourages disenfranchised youth in developing entrepreneurial skills to establish businesses in underserved communities. His latest effort — Studio SV — marks Lupe’s global expansion through the venture company in Hong Kong that will develop, produce and finance innovative content.

Each company is given only 4 minutes to pitch the judges and share their story. Judges will also select one “Judges’ Favorite” following the pitches.

The startups were judged on the following:

strength of their team

execution & traction

business model & growth potential

Ultimately the judges couldn’t decide on just one winner and actually issued a tie!

Congratulations to ShearShare and Increase for taking home the prize!

They each walked away with $250k in funding.

Skywatch won the audience choice award and J.D. Vance pulled an Oprah and made an offer to all the startups that participated ~ if they raise 1M in the next 6 months he would provide an additional 150k funding.

ShearShare Co-founder, Courtney Caldwell

You can watch all the pitches here.

It was especially refreshing to see the level of diversity and female founders pitching.

If you’re a startup you should check out these resources from Google for Entrepreneurs that provide insights on topics like building, marketing, monetizing your product, and more.

Thank you Google for Entrepreneurs for putting together such a great pitch event!

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