Google has selected 12 startups that will participate in the first-ever Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa.
Globally, the Launchpad Accelerator began providing assistance to startups in 2015, and back then the program was only available to a select few in Latin America and Asian. In early 2017 it was opened up to more countries in Europe and the Northern parts of Africa in early 2017. 2018 will see the program move into West and Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time and Google has chosen the startups that will participate in the 3 month program in Lagos.
Launchpad Accelerator Africa will target startups that are in Africa and are offer solutions for Africans. They are accepting applications from startups in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Nigeria.
Google’s accelerator program will enable startups to access $3 million in equity-free support, working space, and access to advertisers from Google, Silicon Valley and in Africa. Google will also provide 3-month partnership along with access to Google engineers and mentorship from 20+ teams.
What’s in it for Google?
You are probably questioning why Google would offer equity-free funding. For one, they could find the next big thing and invest it later on. In working with hundreds of startups Google is also promoting their services. Startups will undoubtedly be guides towards using Google’s products, for example, their cloud platform which in turn means the startups won’t be using Amazon’s or Microsoft offerings in the cloud space.
The funding will be spread over the next 3 years so hopefully as time progresses the accelerator program is expanded to other regions in the continent.
The 12 startups that will be getting funding from Launchpad Africa’s first phase are:
Babymigo (online parent-community)
Kudi (payment service)
Riby (Peer-to-peer banking)
Thrive Agric (agricultural crowdfunding)
Pezesha (peer-to-peer microlending)
OMG Digital (Media)
swiftVEE (livestock buying and selling)
Of late, Google has been offering more of their services in the African market and a few weeks ago they brought Google Jobs to Africa. They also launched a scholarship program in partnership with Udacity. Just like the Jobs feature and the scholarships, the Launchpad Accelerator is not yet available in Zimbabwe but the entry into Africa is a baby step that will hopefully be opened up to us at some point in the future.