By Stellamaris Ashinze
Google says it will train 60 African startups for three years, representing over three million dollars in equity-free support, working space and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley and Africa.
Mr Fola Olatunji-David, Head, Google Startup Success and Services, made this known at the commencement of Class Four Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa in Lagos on Thursday.
A startup is a company that is in the first stage of its operations.
These companies are often initially bankrolled by their entrepreneurial founders as they attempt to capitalise on developing a product or service for which they believe there is a demand.
Olatunji-David said that Launchpad had addressed some big challenges, including access to financial services, education and agriculture.
The Class Four Google Launchpad Accelerator comprises startups from six countries spanning six sectors.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Google’s first regionally-based startup accelerator programme, Launchpad Accelerator Africa, runs out of a dedicated space in Lagos, announced in 2017.
Olatunji-David said that participants would also receive travel and PR support during each three-month programme.
He said that this class was particularly strong, having collectively earned in excess of 600,000 U.S dollars in revenue over the past six months.
The startup official said that Google was impressed by the quality of startups that applied to the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme.
According to him, Class Four is no exception, and we expect them to build on the successes of the previous three classes.
”Since Launchpad Accelerator Africa was first announced in the late 2017, the programme has helped 35 startups to achieve growth, raise millions of dollars in investments and create hundreds of jobs across the continent.
“With every class, we have been able to refine the programme, improve our support for the participating startups and understand the contexts they operate in.
“These startups have worked hard to grow their businesses, understand what they needed to do and in some cases pivot their entire model,” he said.
Olatunji-David explained that with each class, all the selected startups received working space and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa.
According to him, they also received travel and PR support during each three-month programme.
He said Afara Partners (Nigeria) was one of the 12 selected startups. It offers platforms that provide services to the financially underserved and excluded.
Others, according to him, include: REACH (Nigeria), which recognises, categorises and interprets transaction data from SMS and other sources, making this data available as individual financial and market insights.
He also mentioned TradeBuza (Nigeria), a cloud-based web and mobile application, which digitises contract farming and trade.
Another one was XEND (Nigeria) which allows users to make and receive payments, offline or online.