Google unveils Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 2

Google has unveiled Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 2 in Lagos.

Speaking at the launch, Fola Olatunji-David, Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Accelerator Africa,  said  the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa was critical to the survival of the continent.

Eleven developers  made the second class.

Olatunji-David said that the Launchpad Accelerator Africa class was part of the Google’s ongoing efforts to support entrepreneurship on the continent.

“The accelerator, which is housed in Lagos, Nigeria, has already demonstrated its value as the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class, saw 12 startups graduates, with more than 20 teams from Google and 40 mentors from nine countries supporting them.

“The startups have directly created 132 jobs and between them, have raised over 7 million dollars in funding. Their products are being used by approximately 4.5 million people.

“Google is currently creating about three million jobs per year, while more than 11 million job seekers are entering the market and believes that empowering entrepreneurs and startups are essential to drive employment growth.

“It will also allow both economic and social development on the continent,” he said.

Olatunji-David said that for the second class, Google extended applications to additional 11 countries and received more than 250 applications, including graduates of the previous Launchpad programmes, with others referred to the programme by Launchpad mentors.

He listed the 11 finalists from six countries as: AppZone (Nigeria) that built a software service (SaaS) for fintech ecosystems for digital banks, allowing them to reduce operational costs while improving service delivery.

“Others are Chalkboard Education (Ghana);  Cloud9xp (Kenya); EzyAgric (Uganda);  Formplus (Nigeria); Medsaf (Nigeria); Mintrics (Egypt); PayGo Energy (Kenya);  Pineapple (South Africa); Preeva (South Africa); Thank U Cash (Nigeria) ” he said.

Olatunji-David said that each of the finalists would receive three months intense mentoring and support from Google, Cloud and Firebase Credits, three weeks all-expense-paid training at Launchpad Accelerator Africa (Lagos and Johannesburg).

He said they would also have 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.

According to him, applicants needed to be an early stage technology startup based in Sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market that had already raised seed funding.

Earlier, the Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said that Google had been committed for years to helping local businesses thrive online, saying that they were meaningful and crucial partners in our ecosystem.

“Through our different initiatives, we have helped to get tens of thousands of small businesses online, and helped them to succeed.

“We are incredibly proud of how Launchpad Accelerator Africa `Class 1’ contributed to that legacy and cannot wait to see how `Class 2’ further builds on it,” she said.

The first class kicked off in July, 2017.

Launchpad Accelerator Africa is a Google initiative that support the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, and builds on the Launchpad programmes.

Already run in Africa, it has successfully connected over 200 African mentors with several hundred African tech startup entrepreneurs, through one-week boot camps in six different African cities over the last two years.