Google has announced the sixth edition of Launchpad Accelerator India this year, aimed at startups in artificial intelligence. Whereas all the previous five editions of the free-of-cost programme took place in Silicon Valley, this one will be held in Bengaluru, for the first time. And, as opposed to remaining open to any startup from across the globe previously, this year’s edition will focus only on Indian startups, helping them build scalable solutions for the country’s unique problems.
The three-month accelerator will provide 8-10 Indian startups with mentorship and access to Google’s network and technologies, along with up to $100,000 worth of Google Cloud Credits.
Applications for the first class, which will start in September 2018, are invited till July 31.
As part of Launchpad Accelerator India, the shortlisted startups will get support from Google in artificial intelligence, cloud, user experience, Android, web, product strategy and marketing.
The country-focused accelerator programme builds on Google’s ‘Solve for India’ pilot launched last year, which identified many startups for a boot camp, where the founders and their teams spent four days with experts from Google and mentors from the industry.
Last year, a Google team travelled to more than a dozen Tier-II and Tier-III cities to understand the startup ecosystem there. It conducted day-long meetups and workshops for entrepreneurs and developers. Google found that a lot of the solutions were based on data and these entrepreneurs required assistance and mentorship to add artificial intelligence to their products. In addition to Launchpad Accelerator, Google holds a Launchpad Scale programme for startups that are rapidly scaling up.
Bengaluru-based PregBuddy, a peer-to-peer network of expecting mothers backed by Indian Angel Network, was one of the participating startups at this year's programme.
PregBuddy founder Subhadeep Mondal said that the company has started receiving interest for brand partnerships. In India, Google is trying to work with startups providing platforms in various Indian languages. This strategy is clear, given its collaboration with startups such as ShareChat, Pratilipi, Vokal, and SlangLabs, which meet this criterion.
Over the years, Google has worked with many startups across India that are using artificial intelligence in agri-tech, language web, healthcare, transportation and more.
Google’s Launchpad Accelerator started in Israel five years ago. The programme was brought to India in 2014. A total of 30 Indian startups have joined Launchpad Accelerator programme so far.