In August 2023, Google launched a fund to support startups led by women entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region. The Google for Startups Women Founders Fund mainly focused on the rapidly accelerating AI technology; the fund provided a special opportunity for women who are often looked over in the Asia-Pacific regions and face hurdles in navigating the business ecosystem. Recently, the fund announced that it has selected its first batch of startups that will receive mentorship and capital.
The Google for Startups Women Founders Fund is a subsidiary of Google for Startups, Google’s startup support arm. The selected startups are assured $100,000 in equity-free cash each, specialised mentorship, and networking assistance.
The fund will be led by Mike Kim, the Singapore-based Asia-Pacific head of Google for Startups. The seven-year Google veteran specified previously that the fund will focus on startups in India, Japan, and South Korea. Moreover, to level the playing field, the fund can support underrepresented founders and put them on a global platform to get recognition from VCs around the world for additional funding. He also specified that the fund will focus on AI technology due to its capability for disrupting multiple industries.
“The reason we focused on AI for this particular fund is because it spans across so many different industries. In the future, every single technology or industry that we work with, whether it’s healthcare, finance, or even down to hardware, will have some piece of AI to make it more efficient and to make the user experience better,” said Mike Kim.
Meet the seven startups selected for the Google for Startups APAC Women Founders Fund’s first batch:
The three-year-old startup uses the power of generative AI to automate customer inquiries. It is led by Megha Aggarwal, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker and Oxford grad. In support of the startup, Kim relayed that it understood the similarities between a lot of customer problems and found a way to automate them. Additionally, the startup strives to lessen the strenuous psychological pressure felt by customer service workers worldwide.
Led by co-founder Eiko Nakazawa, the two-year-old startup makes specially tailored and unique travel recommendations with the aid of AI. The startup understood the tedious nature of only travelling to a few destinations, like Shibuya or Kyoto; along with the harmful effects this mass travel can have. By showing customers the different destinations, the startup can aid small businesses and simultaneously lessen the ecological burden on the most-frequented tourist spots.
Led by the expertise of co-founder and CEO Sophiya Jagannathan, the one-and-a-half-year-old startup is a one-stop solution to create 3D models. These 3D and AR models are created from real-life objects just by using videos or photos; they can be used for gaming, e-commerce, and visual effects.
Kai Health (South Korea)
Kai Health was founded by Hyejun Lee, an alumni of Seoul National University. It increases the chances of having a healthy baby in a cost-effective and noninvasive way. It utilises the power of AI to effectively analyse embryo images and clinical data to improve pregnancy success rates for in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Munice (South Korea)
Curated through the personal experience with insomnia of founder Shawny Kwon, Munice’s innovative sleep-draught app Miracle Night uses AI and neuroscience to offer personalised sleep solutions. The app uses AI to analyse health data to produce personalised sleep-inducing sounds to help improve sleep quality.
Led by former McKinsey consultant Emiri Grimes, Yuimedi uses AI to clean medical data so that healthcare providers can better utilise their vast troves of data. AI algorithms can process data in medical records, analysing patterns to recommend treatments.
Zenerate (South Korea)
Led by cofounder Jamie Jeong, who holds a doctorate from Caltech, Zenerate uses AI to effectively generate building designs. Concerning the idea, Kim says Zenerate’s designs can help increase the supply of affordable housing in South Korea. This plan will aid the home shortage due to developers being hesitant to start products due to increasing costs.