By Chiazo Ogbolu
As part of its ongoing efforts to support entrepreneurship on the continent, Google on Tuesday unveiled the Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class three.
The Google’s Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Africa, Mr Fola Olatunji-David, said that the third class would start on April 1 and would involve 12 startups from six African countries.
He listed Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda as the countries, adding that of the12 startups, six had female co-founders and nine were either AI-enabled or had AI potential.
“These companies will join other startups in the Launchpad programme, present and past, that are using technology to create a positive impact on key industries in their region.
“We look forward to supporting and connecting them with startup ecosystems around the world,” Olatunji-David said in a statement.
He added that to be accepted into Launchpad Accelerator Africa, applicants must be an early stage technology startup based in Sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market, that had already raised seed funding.
Olatunji-David said that Google additionally considers the problem the startup was trying to solve, how it created value for users and how it addressed a real challenge for their home city, country or Africa broadly.
He said that further that Google would look at whether the startup would share what they would learn from the programme for the benefit of other startups in their local ecosystem.
“The startups each will receive: three months intense mentorship and support from Google, as well as Cloud and Firebase Credits. They will attract three weeks all-expense-paid training at Launchpad Accelerator Africa (Lagos and Nairobi).
“Others are access to Google engineers, resources, and mentors, during and after the programme, inclusion in the Launchpad Accelerator Global Community and the network of alumni and mentors,’’ he said.
Olatunji-David said Google’s global accelerator programme, Launchpad Accelerator, had already enrolled seven African startups (Twiga Foods, JUMO and Paystack.
Others are: Delivery Science, Helium Health, Paylater and Aerobotics) also provided them with visibility, best-in-class mentorship and access to Google’s network in Silicon Valley.
He said that 23 startups had already graduated from the first two Launchpad Accelerator Africa classes and the programme had so far helped the participating startups to create jobs and, collectively, raise millions of dollars in funding.
Olatunj-David listed the 12 startups, in alphabetical order, as: 54Gene (Nigeria), Data Integrated Limited (Kenya), Instadiet.me (Egypt), Kwara (Kenya), OkHi (Kenya), PAPS (Senegal) and ScholarX (Nigeria).
Others are: Tambua Health Inc. (Kenya), Voyc.ai (South Africa), WellaHealth (Nigeria), and Zelda Learning (South Africa).
“First announced in July 2017, Launchpad Accelerator Africa forms an important part of Google’s initiatives that support the African entrepreneurial ecosystem and builds on the Launchpad programmes already run in Africa.
“It has successfully connected over 200 African mentors with several hundred African tech startup entrepreneurs through one-week bootcamps in three different African cities over the last two years,’’ he said. (NAN)