Google has revealed the startups who will participate in the first Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa class. The event was made at an event held in Lagos, Nigeria. It also announced a partnership with Udacity and Andela to provide 15 000 single course scholarships and 500 nano degree scholarships to aspiring and professional developers across Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
Google announced the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class on 9 November and applications closed on 10 December 2017. Launchpad Accelerator Africa, is a programme for top early-stage African startups that will operate out of Lagos, Nigeria.
Juliet Ehimuan, Country Director of Google Nigeria said: “Launchpad Accelerator Africa was announced at Google for Nigeria in July last year. At the time we also announced the extension of our Digital Skills for Africa program to train 10 million Africans, including 100,000 developers, over five years. The scholarships announced today form part of that commitment.”
Over the next three years the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme will provide African startups with over $3-million in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa. Participants receive travel and PR support during each three-month program.
To qualify, startups have to be a technology startup, based in Sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market and have already raised seed funding. Google additionally considered the problem the start up is trying to solve, how it creates value for users, and how they addressed a real challenge for their home city, country or Africa broadly.
Andy Volk, Sub-Saharan Africa Ecosystem Regional Manager added that: “We are thrilled to announce this, the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class and look forward to working with them to drive innovation into the African market. Africa is home to some incredibly smart people who are working to solve the continent’s problems using homegrown solutions and we’re honoured to be able to be part of that.”
In no particular order, the participants in the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class are:
- Babymigo – Nigeria – a trusted social community for expecting mothers and young parents.
- Flexpay – Kenya – an automated and secured layaway e-commerce system.
- Kudi – Nigeria – payment for Africa through messaging.
- OkadaBooks – Nigeria – a social platform that allows users easily create, spread and sell their stories/books/documents in a matter of minutes.
- OMG Digital – Ghana – a media platform that produces hyper-local, engaging and entertaining content African millennials love to consume and share.
- Pezesha – Kenya – a scalable Peer to Peer microlending marketplace that allows Kenyans to loan to Kenyans, securely, via mobile money using big data and credit analytics.
- Piggybank.ng – Nigeria – allows Africans put aside little amounts of money periodically till they reach a savings target.
- Riby – Nigeria – a peer-to-peer banking platform for cooperatives and their members that allows them to save, borrow and invest, together.
- swiftVEE – South Africa – a platform for connecting livestock agencies to a network of buyers and sellers.
- TangoTv – Tanzania – a media streaming and video on demand service for African local content; films and shows.
- Teheca – Uganda – helps families and individuals find the right health care providers/workers in Uganda.
- Thrive Agric – Nigeria – crowdfunds investments for small holder farmers, and provide this to them in form of inputs, tech driven advisory and access to market.
Google stated that it is committed to the Sub-Saharan Africa developer ecosystem and has, since April 2016, hosted 13 Launchpad Build and Start events across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, featuring some 228 speakers and engaging 590 attendees from local startups in each country.
It also runs programs such as Google Developer Groups and Women Techmakers, providing training and support for developers aligned with real-life job competency requirements. Community groups engage in activities like Study Jams – study groups for developers. There are some 140 communities across 25 countries in SSA. Some 61 of these groups hosted 81 Study Jams in 10 countries reaching over 5 000 developers in the last year.