Search engine giant, Google has revealed plans to focus on Artificial Intelligence Startups in its next Launchpad Accelerator program for Africa. This move is in a bid to support more AI-focused startups growth through its accelerator program.
Launched in 2018, Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa has trained over 36 African startups. The new cohort is set to commence in a few weeks.
Speaking at the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa alumni dinner, Mr. Olatunji David, the head of startup-Google, said the program has begun experimenting with Artificial Intelligence since its 3rd cohort. He also noted that some graduates of the program like Insurtech Pineapple and Voyc.ai were AI companies.
He also noted that the program’s curriculum will tougher than it used to be. The program will maintain its focus on five core elements- Technology, Leadership, Product, Growth, and Operations.
The Accelerator program previously relied on funding and building great products. However, they are more concerned about the startups they sponsor. In essence, Google Launchpad Accelerator program intends to gain returns from startups they sponsor. The returns will be used to run the program.
Still speaking on its new focus on AI, Olatunji explained that AI is the imagery of technology currently, and it does ‘everything for us’ by harnessing the power of technology and big data which is used in predicting human’s behavioral patterns and outcomes.
Though Google Launchpad Accelerator Program presently runs in 17 East, West and some South African countries, the program is yet to extend to North Africa and Francophone countries.
Reacting to this, Mr. Olatunji explained that there is no point in choosing a startup that cannot be funded by the accelerators.
Also clarifying the question on the expiration of Google CEO’s $3 million commitment to assist African startup, Mr. David replied that the stride to help Africa startup is a journey and will continue over time.