For a summertime celebration, come to the Detroit River on Monday, June 26, for the 59th annual Ford Fireworks to officially kick off summer in the city. With the theme of, “Detroit! Right Now!!,” the sky will be lit up with more than 10,000 fireworks highlighting the wonderful iconic skyline. The 25- minute show will begin at 9:55 p.m., but be sure to head into the city early for some pre-fireworks events.
Thursday evening, Grand Circus hosted the fourth-annual Detroit Google Demo Day, an event where startups pitch in front of a panel of judges, investors and Detroit peers. Each startup has three minutes to pitch, along with two minutes to answer questions from the judges who deliberate and choose three finalists.
This year’s finalists were:
GoKid: a complete carpool solution for schools, teams and active families.
Spatial: a company that works with automotive companies to power conversational searches for events, restaurants and in-vehicle activities.
Waymark: an input-free automated marketing platform for local businesses, with the goal of making cutting-edge marketing available to every business in the world.
The three finalists are submitted to Google, who then chooses one startup to attend Google for Entrepreneurs, an event hosted in Mountain View, Calif. where startups compete on a national stage and meet with top investors and mentors.
“It’s a unique opportunity; a great way to get international exposure and get in a room with every investor,” said Damien Rocchi, President and CEO of Grand Circus and the host of Demo Day.
Grand Circus is a training business that provides a 10-week, full-time coding bootcamp that teaches applicants the skills they need to get into a technology field. Grand Circus also supports a variety of programs and tech startups, giving access to resources that they need to grow.
“I think this event means a lot for the city, said Lyden Foust, CEO of Spatial and finalist of the 2017 Demo Day. “The event today told me that Detroit cares about the future and specifically a future in technology. It’s cool to be an entrepreneur in the midst of that. It’s an opportunity for us to share our mission. So I feel very lucky and fortunate that we can share what we’re doing.”
Other startups at Google Demo Day included Plinquit, Detroit Bikes, MySwim Pro, 360 and Me and ContentOro.
“We count on events like this because we have to raise money for our companies,” said Bob Chunn, CEO and Founder of ContentOro. “This room is full of investors who get to hear my story; plus potential customers sitting here. So I think it’s a great opportunity. It also helps you to hone your message. Standing up and giving a three-minute presentation about a business I’ve worked on for two years is very difficult, but I have to do that exact same thing when I talk to a customer. So it’s helpful in a lot of different ways that might not be obvious.”
Detroit startups have had strong representation in past years like SPLT, a ride-sharing app who won Detroit Google Demo Day in 2016 and Detroit-based LevelEleven, which produces cloud-based sales software, selected to present in Silicon Valley in 2015 as well as iRule LLC in 2014.
“This event brings the community in to let them know that startups are making jobs and companies in the city, state and region,” said Kathleen Craig, Founder and President of Plinquit. “We have a young ecosystem in Detroit and it’s growing. I was excited by the other companies and what they’re trying to do.”
If you have a startup and are looking to receive access to investment opportunities and resources, follow Grand Circus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for announcements for next year’s Detroit Google Demo Day.