After a successful inaugural cycle which drew to a close around June this year and culminated in the graduation of 12 startups from across the African continent, Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa is back with its second cycle.
This time around and in a manner reminiscent of the first cycle, Nigerian enterprises appear to be leading the pack with four startups selected from the West African nation in the latest cohort of the accelerator program.
Google Launchpad Accelerators are designed specifically for the company’s local markets. The program affords access to the tech giant’s resources – its people, network, and advanced technologies – to helping startups build and develop products that are globally scalable.
Exclusive events participation, mentorship opportunities, trainings, equity-free support, global media opportunities, grants, as well as a three-month-long partnership with Google, are also some of the perks that come with the regional initiative which affords participation opportunities in over 40 countries around the world – of which the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa is a vital arm.
During yesterday’s announcement of the second cohort of the Africa-focused accelerator which took place at the company’s facility in Lagos, Nigeria, it was revealed that the sophomore class drew applications from over 250 startups from various regions of the continent, with applications received from 11 additional countries. The 11 tech startups that were selected for the latest cycle were drawn from some sectors including ed-tech, health-tech, agri-tech, fintech, eCommerce, clean-tech, data analytics, video intelligence, software development, machine learning, and a number of other fields.
In the latest cohort of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa, Nigeria appears to be keeping up with the trend set last time out as the country is represented by four startups including AppZone, Formplus, Medsaf, and Thank U Cash; the most from any of the participating African countries. Data analytics, health-tech, software development, and fintech are the areas of focus for the selected Nigerian startups.
Countries in parts of Eastern, Southern, and Northern Africa are not left out as they are also represented in the second cohort of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa. Mintrics; an Egyptian startup that was earlier covered by WeeTracker appear to have also caught the eye of Google as they have been selected in the latest cohort. The video intelligence platform, which helps brands and agencies get to grips with how people are interacting with their social videos intending to identifying what works and maximizing ROI, will be looking to make the most of the opportunity.
In the same vein, Kenya’s Cloud9xp; an online marketplace and booking place for experiences in various locations across Africa and the Middle East, that was covered in an earlier publication by WeeTracker, have also made the cut in the second cycle of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa – a feat that is testament to the continued growth of the enterprise, as well as a chance to further develop its product.
EzyAgric (Uganda), Chalkboard Education (Ghana), PayGo Energy (Kenya), and the duo of South Africa’s Pineapple and Preeva make up the rest of the formidable class of startups in the second cohort. These selected startups will benefit from intensive mentorship and support from Google to launch them into global competitive businesses over the next three months.
“The growth of entrepreneurship in Africa is critical to the survival of our continent,” Fola Olatunji-David, Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Accelerator Africa, is quoted as saying with regards to the development. “We are currently, as a region, creating about three million jobs per year, while more than 11 million job seekers are entering the market. Google believes that empowering entrepreneurs and startups is essential to drive employment growth, and enable both economic and social development on the continent,” Fola further stated.
Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa was first announced in July 2017 during the visit of Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, to Nigeria. The program forms an important part of Google’s initiatives aimed at furthering the growth of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem and it leverages on the Launchpad programs already afoot in Africa.
The first cycle of the accelerator program which ended in June this year drew participation from 12 startups with Nigerian enterprises also dominating with six entrants which included Babymigo, Kudi, OkadaBooks, Piggybank. Ng, Riby, and Thrive Agric. The rest of the first cycle encompassed such startups as Flexpay (Kenya), OMG Digital (Ghana), Pezesha (Kenya), swiftVEE (South Africa), TangoTv (Tanzania), and Teheca (Uganda).
Google’s global accelerator program, the Launchpad Accelerator, also boasts having already enrolled seven startups and provided them with visibility, best-in-class mentorship, and access to Google’s network in Silicon Valley. Twiga Foods, JUMO, Paystack, Delivery Science, Helium Healthcare, Paylater, and Aerobotics, are amongst the seven startups that are believed to have so far benefitted.
Feature image courtesy: pulse.ng