SAN FRANCISCO – Google has selected 11 emerging companies led by women to present proposals to Silicon Valley investors.
The group includes a Brazilian, a Mexican and a U.S. woman who lives in Barcelona.
The leaders of the winning firms, who will meet with venture capitalists in San Francisco on Dec. 9, were selected from among more than 450 applicants in 40 countries in the first competition of its kind organized by Google.
To be eligible, a company has to have at least one woman among its founders and to be seeking between $1 million and $5 million in investment.
“I am impressed by the level of talent that this competition has revealed,” Mary Grove, director of Google for Entrepreneurs, told EFE.
A 2014 report by the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College found that during the period 2011-2013, companies led by a female CEO received only $1.5 billion of the $50.8 billion venture capital invested, equivalent to 3 percent of the total.
“Women have difficulties in accessing venture capital and what we are trying to do with this event is to connect female entrepreneurs with investors and to promote an all-inclusive attitude,” Grove said.
The winners are five U.S. companies and one each from Canada, Israel, Britain, South Korea, Brazil and Mexico.
Their activities range from developing financial tools for seniors to artificial intelligence.
One firm is in the business of creating permanent records of the ownership of diamonds and other luxury objects, another offers software to correct documents written in English by non-native speakers.
Luciana Caletti of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is one of the winners.
In June 2013, Caletti and her two partners launched “I Love Mondays,” a Web site that helps job seekers to know in advance the real environment in the companies they are applying to thanks to anonymous evaluations from people already working there.
“Our dream is to increase transparency in the labor market,” Caletti, 35, told EFE.
Google also singled out Mexico’s Claudia de Heredia, co-founder of Kichink, a provider of comprehensive e-commerce solutions.
“Being selected meant an outside validation of our idea,” De Heredia told EFE. “Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, the road is a little lonely one doesn’t know if one is walking in the right direction.”
Another winner is Lynette Kucsma, co-founder with Spaniard Emilio Sepulveda of U.S.-incorporated Natural Machines, which manufactures Foodini, a 3D printer that creates meals from fresh ingredients.
“I am thrilled to be selected in a truly global competition, and by the fact that Google decided to focus this contest on women entrepreneurs,” Barcelona resident Kucsma told EFE.