Google adopts 20 start-ups for 90-day mentoring programme (video)

10 Mar 2015

(From left) Adopt a Startup participants Eimear O'Carroll (Restored Hearing), Eamon Keane (Xpreso), Emer O'Daly (Love & Robots), Ross Good (Pubble), Grace McDonald (Sonru) and Jason Gilberg (Game Golf). Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

Google welcomed 20 of Ireland’s brightest start-ups to its EMEA headquarters in Dublin to match them up with support teams who will offer guidance on creating a strong digital strategy.

This is the second year of Google’s Adopt a Startup Programme, which involves a 90-day programme of mentoring sessions with Google Ireland’s Startup Support Teams.

A healthy batch of 20 Irish start-ups have been selected to participate, all of them proven companies which have previously received VC funding or taken part in accelerator programmes.

Transforming start-ups’ online presence

Each start-up will be assigned a Google Ireland team who will help them focus on their business’ unique selling point and learn how to convey that in all of their online communications.

The end result, by 28 May, will be a refined digital marketing strategy which the start-ups will then pitch to Google’s senior management, who will then crown a winner.

Last year’s winner was Jobbio, the online recruitment platform.

“Before we took part in Google’s Adopt a Start-up programme, our business was like this brilliant shop but in a cul de sac. By the end of the programme it was like we were on Grafton Street on Christmas Eve,” said Jobbio CEO Stephen Quinn.

“Our website traffic increased by 40pc, we had an increased click through rate of 15pc on some of our online advertising campaigns and we transformed our online presence to deliver increased revenues and marketshare,” he added.

‘Why can’t we be big tech giants?’

The 20 selected start-ups for the 2015 programme include familiar faces such as Pubble, FoodCloud, Restored Hearing, NewsWhip, Love & Robots (formerly FabAllThings), Game Golf, Sonru and Xpreso.

Kareena MacLeod, co-founder and managing director of selected start-up Aladdin, said the presence of globally successful tech companies, such as Google, in Ireland provides a boost for the local start-up scene.

“It gives you confidence that you’re (at) the gateway to Europe here in Ireland, so if the big tech giants are here, why can’t we be big tech giants and serving the whole of Europe – and the world.”

The winning company from this year’s Adopt a Startup programme will receive further support from Google for its digital marketing campaign.

“The companies which participated last year have all taken the skills developed during the mentoring programme back into their companies and are executing digital strategies to develop their businesses,” said Paddy Flynn, head of Google Ireland’s start-up programme.

“This programme is a further opportunity for Google to support the Irish start-up ecosystem in a meaningful way.”

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.