Google for Start-ups Accelerator to double its engagement with start-ups

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on June 22, 2020

Paul Ravindranath G, Program Manager, GFS Accelerator India.

Targets start-ups with a special focus on health, retail, fintech and edu-tech

Signalling heightened interest in Indian start-ups, Google for Start-ups Accelerator (GFS Accelerator), which was previously called Launchpad Accelerator, is doubling the number of start-ups it will accept for its fourth cohort, which is scheduled to begin in August.

Until now, the Accelerator programme which was launched in India in 2016, has been accepting up to 10 start-ups per cohort. The fourth cohort, which will have an expanded scope, will accept up to 20 start-ups that are working on solutions for the post-Covid landscape in India, with a special focus on health-tech, fintech, edu-tech, agri-tech, retail and SaaS start-ups, a top executive told BusinessLine. The last date for applying for the programme is June 30.

GFS Accelerator has so far closely mentored over 60 start-ups in India till date and has supported over 250 start-ups through the Covid outbreak. The Accelerator programme focusses on mentoring early-stage start-ups that are solving for systemic problems such as healthcare, financial inclusion and sustainability, through the use of AI/ML technology to power their solutions. The programme begins with an intensive one-week mentorship bootcamp that starts with a thorough understanding of problem areas across domains, followed by mentorship sessions, and ends with setting specific goals for the upcoming three months of the programme.

“We usually have 10 start-ups in a cohort, however, this time around we are planning to accept 15-20 start-ups from different areas including those that are building solutions in the areas of remote diagnostics, telemedicine, remote working (remote meetings/AR & VR conferencing), financial inclusion, AI-based diagnostics and mental health; all of which are highly relevant in these Covid times. We generally receive around 700-800 applications for each cohort and it takes a month to shortlist the finalists. The ones we select are typically seed to Series A start-ups,” said Paul Ravindranath G, Program Manager, GFS Accelerator India.

“We engage with the selected start-ups for 3-4 months. It is a mentor-driven programme and is also supported by multiple Google teams, our VC network, our partner network, which includes co-working spaces and other accelerator programmes, 100s of mentors with deep expertise, industry network, founder alumni network, technology and Google credits. We handhold them through the 3-4 months and assist them in achieving their goals and objectives in that time frame,” elaborated Ravindranath.

“To select a start-up for the GFS Accelerator, we look for a founding team that is proficient in five different disciplines — technology, product, design, leadership and business model. The sense of scale founders in India come with is often mindblowing. They are building solutions for a 100 million to 1 billion plus population. They offer a completely different perspective in terms of scale compared to start-up founders from across the globe,” said Sami Kizilbash, Global Head, Accelerators, Google.

Published on June 22, 2020

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