Google is turning to startups to revive its “don’t be evil” mantra

Google has, pretty much, saturated the tech scene; it routinely claims its prize as (comfortably) the most visited website in the western world. Now, it’s giving back, with a scheme designed to house and support six socially-oriented startups. Google Campus London, an incubator and working space for startups, has announced the Tech For Good Residency, which aims to support startups looking to make changes for good.

The programme lasts four months and sees the startups in question moving into Google’s Campus London location in Shoreditch, offering them the requisite support to grow their businesses and help them flourish. These aren’t just buzzwords; Google is sinking some serious time and effort into the endeavour, with participants receiving one-to-one mentoring from Google’s leading technologists. The startups hope the programme will propel them towards reaching their funding and professional goals, all while benefiting from Google’s well-established infrastructure.

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The chosen six were whittled down from a list of hundreds of potential companies. Each startup also encompasses – and aim to amend – a wide array of social issues. Take Alice, for example, a decentralised network using blockchain to identify and scale social and environmental projects.

A more scientific-oriented startup is GTN, a business that combines machine learning and quantum physics (child’s play, really) to discover new drug-like molecules – a feat that is significantly ameliorating the efficiency of the drug development cycle. Another like-minded biotech startup is Labstep, a company that captures real-time scientific process data in a bid to make lab research more readily reproducible.

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Then we have the aptly named Spill, an app whose goal is to shift the perception of talking therapy, by facilitating direct daily contact between a patient and counsellor. In a similar ilk is KareInn, an intelligent care planning software designed for residential and nursing homes, which uses data to bring staff and residents together in a bid to develop the future of care.

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Finally, comes SciApps, which develops SkinNinja, an application that spots allergens and cancer-causing ingredients in skincare, cosmetics, and personal care products. The app works aggregate expert evidence and research for more than 230,000 ingredients in skincare products.

For its part, Google couldn’t be more excited about the venture. “The goal for our first ‘Tech for Good’ Campus Residency is to bring together exceptional individuals who share a passion for building a better world for everyone,” explains Amrit Dhir, Head of Campus London.

Dhir elucidated on the support Google is offering to the startups it has taken under its wing. “We offer founders unparalleled access to resources such as mentorship and Google teams and tools, all which enable them to collaborate with Googlers, with each other, and with entrepreneurs across our global networks.”

It is, he maintains, a socially conscious venture, with the greater societal good in mind: “‘Tech for Good’ seeks to harness technology by enriching the lives of those far beyond the startup community and tech industries”. Hear, hear. For so long, we’ve seen the technologically minded likes of Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg reigning supreme and ostensibly riding roughshod over the welfare of others. Kudos to Google for bucking that trend by letting other, more socially conscious entities have a seat at the table.

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