The third Launchpad Accelerator Africa class was announced today by Google as part of its ongoing efforts to support entrepreneurship on the continent. First announced in July 2017, Launchpad Accelerator Africa forms an important part of Google’s initiatives that support the African entrepreneurial ecosystem and builds on the Launchpad programmes already run in Africa, which have successfully connected over 200 African mentors with several hundred African tech startup entrepreneurs through one-week bootcamps in three different African cities over the last two years.
This third class, which starts on 1 April 2019, involves 12 startups from six African countries – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda. Of these 12 startups, 6 have female co-founders and 9 are either AI-enabled or have AI potential.
The 12 startups, in alphabetical order, are:
· 54Gene (Nigeria): Improves drug discovery by researching multiple genetically diverse African populations.
· Data Integrated Limited(Kenya): Automates and digitizes SME payments, connecting the street to high finance.
· Instadiet.me (Egypt): Connects patients to credible nutritionists and dietitians online to help them maintain a healthy and optimal weight.
· Kwara (Kenya): Provides a rich digital banking platform to established fair lenders such as credit unions or savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), with an open API to enable and accelerate their inclusion into the formal financial ecosystem.
· OkHi (Kenya): A physical addressing platform for emerging markets that is on a mission to enable the 4 billion without a physical address to “be included”.
· PAPS (Senegal): A logistics startup with a strong client-care orientation, focused on last mile delivery in the domestic market that features live tracking, an intelligent address system and automatic dispatch.
· ScholarX (Nigeria): An education startup that connects high potential students with funding opportunities to help them advance in their studies.
· Tambua Health Inc. (Kenya): The Tambua App turns a normal smartphone into a powerful, non-invasive diagnostic tool for Tuberculosis and Pneumonia. It uses a cough sound acoustic signature, symptoms, risk factors and clinical information to come up with a diagnostic report.
· Voyc.ai (South Africa): Voyc.ai’s CX Research Platform helps companies understand their customers by turning their customer research into insights, personas and customer journey maps.
· WellaHealth (Nigeria): A pharmacy marketplace for affordable high quality disease-care (such as malaria treatment) driven by artificial intelligence.
· Zelda Learning (South Africa): Provides free online career guidance for students looking to enter university and then links them to funding and study opportunities.
The startups each receive:
· 3 months intense mentorship and support from Google
· Cloud and Firebase Credits
· Three weeks all-expense-paid training at Launchpad Accelerator Africa (Lagos and Nairobi)
· Access to Google engineers, resources, and mentors, during and after the programme
· Inclusion in the Launchpad Accelerator Global Community and network of alumni and mentors
To be accepted into Launchpad Accelerator Africa, applicants must be an early stage technology startup based in Sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market, that has already raised seed funding. Google additionally considers the problem the startup is trying to solve, how it creates value for users and how it addresses a real challenge for their home city, country or Africa broadly. Further, Google looks at whether the startup will share what they will learn from the programme for the benefit of other startups in their local ecosystem.
In addition, Google’s global accelerator programme, Launchpad Accelerator, has already enrolled seven African startups (Twiga Foods, JUMO, Paystack, Delivery Science, Helium Health, Paylater and Aerobotics) and provided them with visibility, best-in-class mentorship and access to Google’s network in Silicon Valley.
Through its Google for Entrepreneurs programme, Google actively supports tech hubs across Africa (and has been doing so for years), with hubs in Lagos, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda.
23 startups have already graduated from the first 2 Launchpad Accelerator Africa classes and the programme has so far helped the participating startups to create jobs and, collectively, raise millions of dollars in funding.