Google Launchpad looks to unicorns and Africa | Techsauce

Google Launchpad looks to unicorns and Africa

Startup Acceleration Programs General Manager Roy Geva Glasberg

Google’s Developers Launchpad this year is raising the bar of mentorship by featuring two unicorns in its accelerator program and initializing a regional accelerator program for Africa.

Google Launchpad Accelerator 5th edition

The trend is clear, tech giants are realizing its is time to look beyond the Silicon Valley to support innovation and startups.  Running the fifth edition of its launchpad accelerator, Google has definitely progressed in supporting 135 startups including 24 new startups in the latest edition.  The six-month acceleration program matches growth-state startups from emerging ecosystems with mentors and Google’s experts, network, and advanced technology.

Startups get two weeks of all-expense-paid training at Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley and then spends 6 months developing their startups with equity-free support and mentors.  Countries selected for this program from Asia include Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.

Startup Acceleration Programs General Manager Roy Geva Glasberg says the main goals remain the same in fostering emerging ecosystems’ innovations and advance technologies of startups by providing innovative tools from Google. 

  1. Raise the level of mentorship: Motivate successful startups of the program to join Google’s 1,500 member mentorship program.
  2. Create better practices: build a network of venture capitalists (VC) between emerging ecosystems and the seasoned players in Silicon Valley.
  3. Support Regulatory Measures for better ecosystems: Google monitors regulations and offers knowledge to governments to build support for startups

Google Launchpad Features Unicorns

With its improved understanding of companies and their needs Google has now made some changes to oil their accelerator programs.  One of these changes is connecting selected startups with their mentors prior to the two-week bootcamp in San Francisco to quicken the pace of development. 

The other change is to feature for the first time unicorns with a billion dollar evaluation.  They are two unicorns from Brazil, Nubank and Grupo Zap Viva Real. 

Financial technology firm Nubank aims to solve Brazil’s “troublesome” (according to the startup) banking services that offers one fo the highest interest rates and fees in the world.  Founded in 2013 the startup has raised $330 million.  The Brazil-based financial startup targets 60 million Brazilians who do not have a bank account.  In October 2017, Nubank announced its plans to offer digital accounts to enable users to make transfers, pay bills and earn more interest than average savings account.

The second unicorn featured, Grupo Zap Viva Real, is a merger of the two largest Brazilian portals Zap and Viva Real.  The combined portals create ways to facilitate, streamline and improve the most different types of business for all real estate agents in Brazil, from search to transaction.  This startup is right up Google’s alley as the accelerator says it wants to help support mergers with its experience. 

Looking beyond to Africa

An agribusiness startup that allows middle-class Nigerians to invest in agriculture, a Kenyan peer to peer micro-lending marketplace, and an e-book app are a part of the ecosystem changing lives in Africa.  The next billion users to get online from Africa have attracted maturing tech ecosystems.  This year Google announced its first set of 12 startups to participate its its Launchpad Accelerator Africa class modeled after the global program in Silicon Valley.  In total, six of the selected startups are Nigerian, two are Kenyan with one each from Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.  Over a three-year period, Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa program will offer $3 million in equity free funding to over 60 startups on the continent as well as provide mentor and technology support.

Techsauce Global Summit 2018

Be a part of developing the Southeast Asia ecosystem and beyond by joining us this year at Techsauce Global Summit 2018 taking place June 22-23, 2018 at Centara Grand, Central World in Bangkok.  Over 10,000 participants from 30 countries are set to make the event bigger than ever.  The latest issues such as ICO, AI, and AgTech will be shared by gurus from around the world.  Go to for more details. 

See you there!

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