Google on Monday launched its startup mentorship programme, Google Launchpad, which will include three-month mentoring for the 20 shortlisted startups. Launchpad, which was started two-and-a half years ago, will have 60 such events across the globe this year, with the Bengaluru edition being the first of the year. The city will host three more events this year, the most in any city across the globe for Google.
Launchpad — run by Google’s developer team — had scrutinised over 1,450 ventures before selecting the 20 startups. Globally, the tech giant received around 8,500 registrations for Launchpad. Most of the startups belong to the early stage while two are growth-stage ones.
“Indian startups are lucky that there is a big domestic market and they can focus on local demand even as they think and work global. Israel does not have this advantage,” said Amir Shevat, global start-up program manager of the developer relations team. “Globally more than 300 startups have been benefited by the Launchpad programme with many of them pivoting their strategy after our programme,” he added.
Google has relocated all its developer relations team members in India to Bengaluru and has decided to mentor the startups in a hyper local fashion by focusing on one city at a time. While in most countries the developer team consists of two members, the Indian team is the biggest globally, with four members working in Bengaluru. Out of the 20 startups, 18 were from the city.
“Over the last year, we have seen most of the Indian companies increasingly focusing on the design. It is also interesting to note that the companies are looking at Indian consumers first now while a couple of years back they were only looking at Western consumers,” said Sunil Rao, country head for developer relations and start-up ecosystem at Google India.
According to Google, the Launchpad will create a community of mentors with around 600 working with the company as of now. Google’s dominance in the mobile space with its Andriod operating system has resulted in most startups from the country working closely with the company. Google is providing the startups with Cloud space, mail and access to several other Google products for free.
According to Google, while half the startups are in the B2C space, the rest cater to businesses. Most of the startups are from the education and healthcare verticals with the companies focusing on data analytic problems in these two spheres.
The search giant has worked with Nasscom, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore and the top 30 venture capitalists of the country to select the final 20 startups.