For startup entrepreneurs, any prize that carries Google's imprimatur is a special sort of honor. On Wednesday, the search giant's Google for Entrepreneurs program hosted its third demo day in San Francisco. This one featured a slate of 11 companies all led by women. Selected from a pool of 450 applicants from all over the world, the international group of entrepreneurs took to the stage to pitch startups aimed at disrupting fields ranging from banking to 3-D printing to text messaging.
Construction communication platform Bridgit won the top prize for the day, but the Canadian startup wasn't the only innovative business to come out of the cohort. Here are 4 startups from Demo Day worth watching. Most are in their Series A funding round, though some are still in seed.
Founders: Mallorie Brodie, Lauren Hasegawa
City: Waterloo, Canada
What it does: Communication platform for construction teams
General contractors still tend to use Excel to keep track of subcontractors and their tasks when working on a major project, says Brodie. And when that general contractor needs to communicate with one of those subcontractors, critical information can get lost in the shuffle. That's where Bridgit comes in to automate communication and minimize human error. Google used Bridgit to coordinate the building of its offices in Waterloo.
Founders: Maci Peterson, Stewart Voit, Gary Keeler
City: San Francisco
What it does: Lets you rescind a text message before it sends
We've all sent texts that we've regretted. The idea of a texting app that lets you edit or delete a message before it reaches the recipient is so obvious, it's surprising cell phones haven't always had that option. It's also lucky for On Second Thought, a free app that lets you take back your words and that founder Maci Peterson says will soon be available preloaded through some carriers. The startup is also working on mobile payments options, which Peterson expects to be key to monetizing the app.
Founders: Liat Mordechay Hertanu, Gilad Hertanu
City: Tel Aviv, Israel (with plans to move to San Francisco)
What it does: Virtual assistant
This virtual assistant ties together a calendar, list and notes to keep you organized. The app lets you add tasks by speech, link to your social media profiles and other accounts to relay their notifications, and pay bills. You can also purchase items through the app, which has a "micro gifting" option that allows users to do things like purchase flowers from an in-app store and have them sent to a friend. Eventually, cofounder Liat says 24me will be able to do things like arrange for someone to take your car to get an oil change. The app used to link to TaskRabbit before the errand company changed its API, according to Liat. Perhaps 24me can one day compete with Facebook's M.
Founders: Leanne Kemp
City: London, England
What it does: Uses blockchain to create permanent record of ownership for diamonds and other luxury goods
Imagine if you could trace the ownership of a diamond all the way back to the mine. This is what Everledger does using blockchain. The startup has added 900,000 diamonds to its system in the 10 months since it launched, using multiple data points to create a fingerprint for each diamond. The goal is to create a global registry the brings transparency to a market "sitting behind a guarded wall," as Kemp puts it. "Diamonds are a global problem, in terms of document tampering and fraud, and we know in London it's a $2 billion problem, so this can work," she told TechCrunch earlier this year. The goal is to ultimately apply the ledger to other luxury goods such as fine art and luxury watches.
Editor's note: This story has been changed to correct the spelling of Liat Mordechay Hertanu's name.