Google has launched a new accelerator program, called the Launchpad Accelerator which will provide mentorship, training, support, and up to $50,000 in equity-free funding to mobile startups in India, Brazil and Indonesia.
According to Roy Glasberg, Google’s Global lead for its Launchpad programs, “the accelerator was born out of Google’s existing Launchpad program for startups and its global series of events that launched about two-and-a-half years ago”.
Google is keenly interested in making an impact on startups, and is seriously trying to scale its efforts. For the same, it is working on various launching projects, trying to develop better tools and offer high-impact mentoring to startups. That’s where the new accelerating programme comes in.
The ultimate goal of this program is to identify game changers in the market and be the game changer for them. The company decided on an equity-free approach because it doesn’t want to tarnish this work with thoughts about ROI and equity.
Google will fly startups to Mountain View for a two-week bootcamp first. There, they will meet with mentors from both inside and outside Google. Glasberg described this as a “pressure environment” where the team will help these startups to plan for their next five and a half months in the program (which happens in their home countries). During this time, the startups will work through a number of individualized tasks to help them sharpen their marketing and go-to-market strategies, user experience design and other aspects of their services. About half of the mentors are Google employees and the other half are professionals from the wider startup community.
Once they get back home, they will get space to work and access to both Google’s local and international network of mentors, as well as credits to use Google’s developer platforms.
The first class of twenty startups will arrive in Mountain View in mid-January and includes startups like Brazil’s ProDeaf, which translates spoken language into sign language using 3D avatars, and Indonesia’s fintech startup Jojonomic.
It plans to bring about 50 new startups into the accelerator program every year, but Glasberg stated that the company hopes to work with another 200 or so in a more hands-off program that doesn’t involve the boot camp in Mountain View.
Google really wants to keep this program as flexible as possible. So,if a startup needs more than six months to make a difference, in that case, Google may work with the team a bit longer. Or instead of cloud credits, the team may need AdWords credits to market it project. Or a team from then hands-off group shows a lot of promise and Google decides to move it to the full accelerator program.