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Access Is Everything.

Posted-on January 2020 By Marta Krupinska

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Launched in 2011, Google for Startups is a program consisting of over 50 co-working spaces and accelerators in 125 countries, offering hands-on lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs.

HiTalent have thoroughly enjoyed learning about Marta Krupinska's inspirational journey to becoming Head of Google for Startups.

'‘Head of Google for Startups, that’s so cool!’ said my friends when I took the job in December 2018. ‘...but what does it really mean?’

These past 12 months have been an amazing journey of finding the best answer to this question and I’ve never been more confident that we figured it out: access is everything.

Google for Startups aims to level the playing field for tech founders. Why would that be important? In the UK, arguably second most robust tech ecosystem in the world after Silicon Valley, still tiny single digit percentages of all VC funding goes to women, and even less to people of colour or LBGTQI+ founders. And that's not only the wrong thing to do; it's also bad business. Boris Wertz, founder of Version One Ventures, famously stated that women-run private tech companies are more capital efficient and bring in a 35 percent higher return on investment (and 12 percent higher when venture backed).

And we've known that for a while. First Round Capital, released a report back in 2015 highlighting that businesses with a female founder as part of their team performed 63 per cent better than their all-male counterparts. All of that is why in 2019 we worked with 10 fantastic women founded companies like Pexxi, Autsera or CompareEthics, whose founders challenge the status quo in the boardrooms.

(Source: https://2019.stateofeuropeantech.com/chapter/key-findings/)

Evening Standard article on Women Founders at GFS UK. Source: https://www.standard.co.uk/tech/female-founders-google-campus-london-residency-2019-programme-a4219046.html

Tech is just a tool: what matters is what you do with it.

Earlier this year we had the privilege to work with a cohort of startups who use AI and Machine Learning to solve the world’s most important problems. We learnt from Elina Naydenova, the founder of Feebris, that pneumonia is the main killer of children under the age of 5, and that her algorithm paired with a widely available digital stethoscope allows any parent or teacher to diagnose complex respiratory diseases. We were shocked to hear from Kate Glazebrook, founder of Applied, that CVs correlate with success on the job as little as 1%, but it's still the main tool most employers use to do the most important thing in their organisations - hiring - and how Applied use technology to remove bias from hiring decisions.

With Elina (Feebris), Kate (Applied) and Kirstin (Google) at the Telegraph Women Mean Business Live event at the Brewery, London, in November.

It's not about the building: it's about what we're building.

When we reopened Campus London in February 2019 under the new Google for Startups brand, we knew we inherited an important legacy. Since 2011, the entrepreneurs based here created 5000+ jobs, raised £250M+ in funding and contributed to the creation of now iconic ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in Old Street.

This year we’ve decided to take on an even bigger challenge: we’ve designed programs to use London’s vast resources to enable startups from anywhere to go global and succeed, from as far as Kenya to as close as Plymouth or Edinburgh.

British and Nigerian VCs convened in Lagos, Nigeria, to close the African tech funding gap.

In 2018, African tech startups raised approx. $725.6M in funding. This represented an astonishing 127% year-on-year growth, however, remains equal to only 2% (!) of all tech investments seen in Europe. Equally, the solutions to global problems that come out of the African continent are just unmatched: from powering financial cooperatives by Kwara to inclusion of African DNA in pharmaceutical research by 54gene, from universal access to clean cooking fuel by PayGo Energy to OkHi providing a digital address system for 4 billion people across emerging markets who do not have a physical address.

The London Immersion: Africa cohort during their graduation in Lagos, Nigeria.

Enabling startups to succeed with the best of Google.

Building a tech startup means stepping into the world of unknown unknowns, so it’s so important to be able to follow the lead of an organisation that’s done it and successfully. From access to mentorship and workshops given by Google’s top talent, to top tips on how to make the most of Google’s products, and follow best practices, from hiring to management, that made Google what it is today.

But none of it would happen without the people; 2019 has been an incredible year of bringing together a fantastic team of Googlers who feel passionate about using their talents to uplift others, and startups who share our ambition to change the world for the better.

The talented and beautiful Google for Startups UK team

From late night coding to 6am flights, from fundraising events to cheeky triangle sandwiches eaten at our desks, from the gift of vulnerability and opening up when things get tough to those real friendships that happen when you know someone’s got your back. Or maybe more than someone. Maybe a whole gang. Maybe we even started a movement.''

This article was written by Marta Krupinska and published on LinkedIn.

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