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How can startups engage with Google?

The various startup engagement and outreach programs at Google from investment, to partnerships and commercial through various equity free mentorship and support programs. Continue Reading

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If you’re a startup founder, you’re probably looking at Google in some way, maybe in terms of partnership or acquisition, but maybe some level of suspicion and fear. Will they compete with me? what if they decide to enter my niche? What will they announce in the next Google I/O keynote? The same might be true for your view of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, etc.

For many CEOs, competition with the tech giants an existential concern. But having Google (or the other FAANGs) in your corner, can also be a great asset. A relationship with Google can take many forms, which I will detail in this post as a guide for founders exploring their relationship with big tech.

In the past I’ve covered the rise of corporate venture capital and the growing number of Fortune 500 companies who are actively launching CVC arms or investing in startups/funds. But investing is only part of the picture. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple have a number of ways to engage startups, ranging from not-for-profit mentorship to lucrative commercial relationships and partnerships.

In this post, I’ll try to organise the various startup engagement and outreach programs at Google. I believe I am qualified to talk about this as I spent ~6 years at Google in strategic partnerships (commerce), as head of Campus London (Google’s first physical startup hub), Head of Google for Entrepreneurs Europe (now called Google for Startups) and eventually general partner for Google Ventures.

Startup outreach programmes at Google
How can startups engage Google (credit: VC Cafe)

Funding, M&A, Commercial, Support

There are four general buckets for engaging with a corporate like Google:

Funding – this consists of cash investment for equity

  • GV (formerly Google Ventures) – Started in 2009, GV is Alphabet’s venture capital fund, focused primarily on early stage in diverse fields: from life sciences and healthcare to robotics and entereprise tech. Notable portfolio companies include Uber, Slack, Jet.com, FlatIron Health, Kobalt Music Group and many others.
  • CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) – Started in 2013, CapitalG is Alpahbet’s growth stage venture fund backed by Google (larger ticket size). Typically invest in series C and above, notable portfolio companies include Stripe, Lyft, Robinhood, UI Path, Snap, Duolingo and many more household names.
  • Gradient Ventures – an early stage fund backed by Alphabet, investing exclusively in AI first companies.
  • Google Assistant – relatively unknown, Google has put together a team dedicated to investing in early stage startups that are moving the voice and assistance ecosystem forward. The website lists a handful of portfolio companies.
  • Google Corporate Development – Google may sometimes invest in a company from its balance sheet. This happened for example in the case of Magic Leap.

M&A – Acquisitions

This most likely involves a combination of an operational team (cloud, enterprise, commerce, etc) and the corporate development team, led by Don Harrison.

Notable acquisitions include Youtube and Nest, or more recently smart glasses manufacturer North or wearable tracker FitBit (under review).

Commercial – a data/tech/commercial partnership or client relationship

This is where it starts getting a bit more complicated. There are multiple arms at Googlee that might do commercial deals with startups and it would be ambitious to try to list them all. So I’ll focus on the main partnerships buckets and app stores.

Partnerships/ Commercial

Many of the partnerships I’ve experienced during my time at Google had to do with strategic content partnerships:

  • Commerce – partnerships with online retailers around google shopping, google wallet, etc.
  • Books/publishing/news – partnerships with publishers of all sizes
  • Geo/Maps – partnerships around locations, public transport, traffic, etc.
  • Search /Assistant – search partnerships are more of a ‘catch all’ bucket and can range from social content (like tweets) to stocks information etc. Anything you’d expect to see called out in a search results page or an activation of Google home.
  • Marketing partnerships – Google curates agencies or companies who pass exams to become certified partners or resellers of Google marketing products.

Another big commercial area is Google Cloud for startups. In addition to the many services offered by Google Cloud directly (App Engine, Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, Kubernetes, etc), startups targeting developers can list their extensions in the Google Cloud Marketplace, Firebase extensions and the G Suite marketplace.

Support

In this category there is a range of programs design to support founders and startups. New programs are launched on a regular basis, so it’s hard to create a definitive list.

The newly created Google for Startups, formerly known as Google for Entrepreneurs, is the umbrella organisation that coordinates the various startup support activities.

Google for Startups is Google’s initiative to help startups thrive across every corner of the world. We bring the best of Google’s products, connections, and best practices to enable startups to build something better.

Google for startups homepage

  • Google Campus – Google launched a number of Campuses, physical hubs for startups, offering a combination of workspace, community, startup support programs and events. There are currently 7 owned and operated Google Campuses in London, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Warsaw, Seoul, Tokyo, Sao Paulo as well as a number of partner tech hubs in Numa in Paris, Factory in Berlin, Epicenter in Stockholm, TQ in Amsterdam, Dogpatch Labs in Dublin, etc. They offer free trainings, mentorship from Googlers, workshops (on fundraising, hiring, internationalisation, etc), a diverse range of events and international exchange programs between the hubs.
    • Startup Cafe – each Campus offers a cafe for registered members (free) where founders get fast wifi and access to the Campus community and events.
    • Google for Startups Residency – a 12-week cohort program focused around diversity (women founders, black founders etc), where successful applicants relocate to Campus for a 3 month program focused on leveraging Google products (i.e. Google Cloud or Google Compute). Each startup is assigned a Google mentor to help the startups focus on a key business challenge (i.e. how do we improve retention) and Google helps the startups with best practices (i.e. OKR setting, best practices for hiring, etc).
    • Diversity is a key value at Google for startups – Applications are now open until August 2nd 2020 for a Women Founders immersion programme as well as a Black founders immersion programme.
    • Google for startups accelerator – this is an extension of the startup residency program, targeting growth stage startups (post seed). Applications for various programs in Europe and Israel are open. The Accelerator programs are now fully remote and open to 10-12 startups per batch.
    • Google Launchpad start (update: a contact from Google informed me that the “Launchpad” programme is now all under Google for Startups Accelerator) – a one week pre-incubation program for early stage startups focused on subjects including product strategy, UX and UI, technology, marketing, business development and presentation skills. This program is mainly led by the Developer Relations team. Successful applicants receive credits to work on Google platforms as well as workshops and mentorship support. Regional Google for startups accelerators (Africa, Brazil, India, etc..) are open.
    • Google Startup Growth Lab – is a program for marketing leaders from B2C & B2SMB startups, aiming to accelerate their business. It’s a 6 months program consisting of educational workshops and ongoing 1:1 mentoring provided by industry experts.
    • Helpful content – is another area of support at scale. Examples include:
  • Google Cloud for Startups – is targeted at developers and offers a combination of free credits to get started as well as dedicated developer relations support, free digital workshops, certificate courses, etc. Think of it as the equivalent of AWS.
  • Google Sand Hill Program – this program went through significant changes in recent years and now works closely with a select number of venture capital funds portfolio companies on how to best integrate with Google tools and products.
  • Start on Android – is a suite of tools aimed at mobile app developers. Perks include early access to pre-launch features on the platform, UI/UX review by Google Play developer relations team and free credits on Cloud, Firebase, etc. Startups can also extend their mobile apps to interact with the Google Assistant.

Some of the various support programs aren’t specific to startups, but can also be leveraged by founders. Examples include:

  • Google Digital Academy – best practices for running Google Ads campaigns, analytics, Udacity courses, developer programs, machine learning crash course, youtube best practices and much more. Open for all.
  • The Digital Garage – choose your course, learn at your own pace and get a certificate in a number of free online courses around data, digital marketing and general business skills. Pre Covid-19 some of the courses were also available in physical locations. Primarily aimed at small businesses (vs. tech startups).
  • Youtube creator spaces – state of the art physical studios for Youtube creators in London, Berlin, LA, New York, Paris, Rio and Tokyo. Primarily aimed at streamers and Youtube ‘influencers’.

Most of the support programs offered by Google are free and there’s a world of content out there.

In the next post in this series, I’ll dive deeper into the startup support at Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Snap.

Eze is managing partner of Remagine Ventures, a seed fund investing in ambitious founders at the intersection of tech, media, data and commerce. We are backed by some of the world’s leading media companies.

I’m a former general partner at google ventures, head of Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe and founding head of Campus London, Google’s first physical hub for startups.

I’m also the founder of Techbikers, a non-profit bringing together the startup ecosystem on cycling challenges in support of Room to Read. Since inception in 2012 we’ve built 8 schools and 31 libraries in the developing world.

Eze Vidra
Latest posts by Eze Vidra (see all)

Source: https://www.vccafe.com/2020/07/21/how-can-startups-engage-with-google/

Private Equity

Ordermark Funded $120M to Expand its Virtual Business

Virtual

Ordermark is based in Los Angeles, CA, one of the leading online ordering management solutions for restaurants and virtual restaurant concepts.

Ordermark was funded $120 million series C round funding. The funding was led by prominent technology investor SoftBank Vision Fund and joined by returning investor Act One Ventures. The grant will use to help more restaurants transition to online ordering during the pandemic and beyond.

The company’s software consolidates incoming orders from multiple platforms and sends them to a single printer. Ordermark also operates a company

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Ordermark is based in Los Angeles, CA, one of the leading online ordering management solutions for restaurants and virtual restaurant concepts.

Ordermark was funded $120 million series C round funding. The funding was led by prominent technology investor SoftBank Vision Fund and joined by returning investor Act One Ventures. The grant will use to help more restaurants transition to online ordering during the pandemic and beyond.

The company’s software consolidates incoming orders from multiple platforms and sends them to a single printer. Ordermark also operates a company called Nextbite, a portfolio of 15 readymade virtual brands such as CraveBurger, Firebelly Wings, and HotBox by Wiz, a collaboration with rapper Wiz Khalifa. Restaurants can offer these delivery-only brands out of existing kitchens, opening up additional revenue streams.

Jeff Housenbold, the Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said. They believe Ordermark is a leading technology platform and innovative virtual restaurant concepts transform the restaurant industry. And they are excited to support their mission to help independent restaurants optimize online ordering and generate incremental revenue from under-utilized kitchens.

The rise of ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants, often referred to as the 3rd wave of food delivery, have paved the way for a broader addressable market for online food delivery.

The statement of Alex Canter, the chief executive officer behind Ordermark 2020, has been a tough year for restaurants. That’s why they are focus on providing products and services to help keep their doors open. This funding allows them to offer more restaurants with innovative ways to reach more consumers.

By: K. Tagura

Author statement:

Funded.com is the leading platform for accredited investors network worldwide. We monitor and provide updates on important funding events. Angel Investors and Venture Funding can be a key growth for a startup or existing business. Whether it is a first, second or third round financing having a strategic alliance with an Angel Investor or Venture Capital financing can propel a business to the next level and give the competitive edge.

Source: https://www.funded.com/blog/2020/10/ordermark-funded-120m-to-expand-its-virtual-business/

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Private Equity

Alternative Investments/ESG: Amundi Launches Sustainable ETF With Exposure To Japanese Stocks

The Amundi Index MSCI Japan SRI UCITS ETF offers exposure to large and mid-cap companies with outstanding Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings in the Japanese market. The new ETF is an extension of Amundi’s range of sustainable ETFs.

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Alternative Investments/ESG: Amundi Launches Sustainable ETF With Exposure To Japanese Stocks

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Amundi’s new ESG ETF invests in large and mid-cap Japanese stocks.

The Amundi Index MSCI Japan SRI UCITS ETF offers exposure to large and mid-cap companies with outstanding Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings in the Japanese market.

The new ETF is an extension of Amundi’s range of sustainable ETFs. (ETF Stream)

Amundi Index MSCI Japan SRI UCITS ETF

The ETF tracks the performance of the MSCI Japan SRI Filtered ex Fossil Fuels Index, which in turn is an equity index based on the MSCI Japan Index (the parent index). The index is representative of the large and midcap stocks of the Japanese market.

It excludes issuers involved in Nuclear, Tobacco, Thermal Coal, Alcohol, Gambling, Controversial Weapons, Conventional Weapons, Civilian Firearms, Oil & Gas, Fossil Fuels, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), and Adult Entertainment.

Its total expense ratio is 0.18%. No performance fees apply.

It is an accumulation fund and will be managed by Amundi Luxembourg SA, an entity that is part of the Amundi group.

The ETF is market-cap weighted and includes a 5% capping on issuer weights. It comprises 68 stocks, compared to 320 names in its parent index.

The fund’s largest holding is Nintendo with 5.6% weighting ahead of Daikin Industries with 5% and Sony with 4.7%.

It is listed on the Deutsche Boerse and Euronext Paris.

ESG ETFs continue record run

European ESG ETFs continued their strong trend and set a record for assets gathered in a month (€3.9 billion), according to the latest Money Monitor report from Lyxor ETF for September.

Related Story:  Amundi Expands ESG Range With Two New ETFs

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alternative-investments-esg-amundi-launches-sustainable-etf-with-exposure-to-japanese-stocks/

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Private Equity

Artificial Intelligence: Intel First To Deploy AI “On Edge” In Space

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has the distinction of launching the first onboard AI processing chip into space. Earlier this month, the European Space Agency and Intel announced the successful deployment in space of PhiSat-1, the first-ever satellite with onboard AI-processing capabilities. Launched from a rocket dispenser on September 2, the PhiSat-1 is positioned about 530 km above our heads, moving at a speed of 27,500 km per hour in a sun-synchronous orbit.

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Artificial Intelligence: Intel First To Deploy AI “On Edge” In Space

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A satellite the size of a cereal box, carrying a camera and an AI chip, is now in orbit.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has the distinction of launching the first onboard AI processing chip into space. Earlier this month, the European Space Agency and Intel announced the successful deployment in space of PhiSat-1, the first-ever satellite with onboard AI-processing capabilities. (Business Insider)

Launched from a rocket dispenser on September 2, the PhiSat-1 is positioned about 530 km above our heads. It is moving at a speed of 27,500 km per hour in a sun-synchronous orbit.

PhiSat-1

The satellite’s objective is to monitor polar ice and soil moisture, as well as to test inter-satellite communication systems.

The satellite carries a hyperspectral-thermal camera and an Intel Movidius™ Myriad™ 2 Vision Processing Unit (VPU). The latter is responsible for the AI heavy lifting operations onboard the spacecraft.

Myriad’s immediate function is to curate the huge mass of data captured by the camera.

AI at the ultimate edge – space

The big problem facing the scientists was the sheer volume of data generated by the hi-fidelity camera onboard the PhiSat-1. The camera unfortunately does not know how to differentiate between a cloudy and clear environment.

It, therefore, takes a large number of photographs that are useless because, at any given time, clouds envelop two-thirds of the earth’s surface.

The junk photos consume precious internet bandwidth to send down to earth. After all that, scientists would likely delete the unclear photos.

The scientists decided to use onboard AI (also known as “on edge” processing) to curate the photos. Myriad-2 would examine the images, trash the useless ones, and send only the good ones to earth.

By discarding the cloudy images at the source, they saved nearly 30% of bandwidth.

“Artificial intelligence at the edge came to rescue us, the cavalry in the Western movie,” says Gianluca Furano, data systems and onboard computing lead at the European Space Agency.

“Space is the ultimate edge,” says Aubrey Dunne, chief technology officer of Ubotica, the Irish startup that built and tested PhiSat-1’s AI technology. “The Myriad was absolutely designed from the ground up to have an impressive compute capability but in a very low power envelope, and that really suits space applications.”

Ubotica worked with cosine, the maker of the camera, in addition to the University of Pisa and Sinergise.

After three weeks of testing, the team could establish that Intel’s Myriad AI onboard the PhiSat-1 was working fine.

ESA then announced “the first-ever hardware-accelerated AI inference of Earth observation images on an in-orbit satellite.”

Satellite-as-a-service!

Scientists can now visualize multiple applications of AI on satellites.

For example, the satellite, during one orbit, could switch from spotting wildfires on land to rogue ships or environmental accidents at sea such as oil spills.

It could measure crops and soil moisture over farms and forests, and assess the ill effect of climate change on melting ice caps.

Related Story:   Satellites and AI Could Together Predict Wildfires Accurately

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/intel-first-to-deploy-ai-on-edge-in-space/

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