Tag Archives: startup

Accelerating Japan’s AI startups in our new Tokyo Campus

Posted by Takuo Suzuki

Japan is well known as an epicenter of innovation and technology, and its startup ecosystem is no different. We’ve seen this first hand from our work with startups such as Cinnamon-- who uses artificial intelligence to remove repetitive tasks from office workers daily function, allowing more work to get done by fewer people, faster.

This is why we are pleased to announce our second accelerator program, housed at the new Google for Startups Campus in the heart of Tokyo. Accelerated with Google in JapanThe Google for Startups Accelerator (previously Launchpad Accelerator) is an intensive three-month program for high potential, AI-focused startups, utilizing the proven Launchpad foundational components and content.

Founders who successfully apply for the accelerator will have the opportunity to work on the technical problems facing their startup alongside relevant experts from Google and the industry. They will receive mentorship on these challenges, support on machine learning best practices, as well as connections to relevant teams from across Google to help grow their business.

In addition to mentorship and technical project support, the accelerator also includes deep dives and workshops focused on product design, customer acquisition, and leadership development for founders.

“We hope that by providing these founders with the tools, mentorship, and connections to prepare for the next step in their journey it will, in turn, contribute to a stronger Japanese economy.” says Takuo Suzuki, Google Developers Regional Lead for Japan. “We are excited to work with such passionate startups in a new Google for Startups Campus, an environment built to foster startup growth, and meet our next cohort in 2020”

The program will run from February-May 2020 and applications are now open until 13th December 2019.

This is the Future of Finance

Posted by Roy Glasberg, Head of Launchpad

Launchpad's mission is to accelerate innovation and to help startups build world-class technologies by leveraging the best of Google - its people, network, research, and technology.

In September 2018, the Launchpad team welcomed ten of the world's leading FinTech startups to join their accelerator program, helping them fast-track their application of advanced technology. Today, March 15th, we will see this cohort graduate from the program at the Launchpad team's inaugural event - The Future of Finance - a global discussion on the impact of applied ML/AI on the finance industry. These startups are ensuring that everyone has relevant insights at their fingertips and that all people, no matter where they are, have access to equitable money, banking, loans, and marketplaces.

Tune into the event from wherever you are via the livestream link

The Graduating Class of Launchpad FinTech Accelerator San Francisco'19

  • Alchemy (USA), bridging blockchain and the real world
  • Axinan (Singapore), providing smart insurance for the digital economy
  • Aye Finance (India), transforming financing in India
  • Celo (USA), increasing financial inclusion through a mobile-first cryptocurrency
  • Frontier Car Group (Germany), investing in the transformation of used-car marketplaces
  • GO-JEK (Indonesia), improving the welfare and livelihoods of informal sectors
  • GuiaBolso (Brazil), improving the financial lives of Brazilians
  • JUMO (South Africa), creating a transparent, fair money marketplace for mobile users to access loans
  • m.Paani (India), (em)powering local retailers and the next billion users in India
  • Starling Bank (UK), improving financial health with a 100% mobile-only bank

Since joining the accelerator, these startups have made great strides and are going from strength to strength. Some recent announcements from this cohort include:

  • JUMO have announced the launch of Opportunity Co, a 500M fund for credit where all the profits go back to the customers.
  • The team at Aye Finance have just closed $30m in Series D equity round.
  • Starling Bank has provided 150 new jobs in Southampton and have received a £100m grant from a fund aimed at increasing competition and innovation in the British banking sector, and also a £75m fundraise.
  • GuiaBolso ran a campaign to pay the bills of some its users (the beginning of the year in Brazil is a time of high expenses and debts) and is having a significant impact on credit with 80% of cases seeing interest rates on loans being cheaper than traditional banks.

We look forward to following the success of all our participating founders as they continue to make a significant impact on the global economy.

Want to know more about the Launchpad Accelerator? Visit our site, stay updated on developments and future opportunities by subscribing to the Google Developers newsletter and visit The Launchpad Blog.

Google Developers Launchpad introduces The Lever, sharing applied-Machine Learning best practices

Posted by Malika Cantor, Program Manager for Launchpad

The Lever is Google Developers Launchpad's new resource for sharing applied-Machine Learning (ML) content to help startups innovate and thrive. In partnership with experts and leaders across Google and Alphabet, The Lever is operated by Launchpad, Google's global startup acceleration program. The Lever will publish the Launchpad community's experiences of integrating ML into products, and will include case studies, insights from mentors, and best practices from both Google and global thought leaders.

Peter Norvig, Google ML Research Director, and Cassie Kozyrkov, Google Cloud Chief Decision Scientist, are editors of the publication. Hear from them and other Googlers on the importance of developing and sharing applied ML product and business methodologies:

Peter Norvig (Google ML Research, Director): "The software industry has had 50 years to perfect a methodology of software development. In Machine Learning, we've only had a few years, so companies need to pay more attention to the process in order to create products that are reliable, up-to-date, have good accuracy, and are respectful of their customers' private data."

Cassie Kozyrkov (Chief Decision Scientist, Google Cloud): "We live in exciting times where the contributions of researchers have finally made it possible for non-experts to do amazing things with Artificial Intelligence. Now that anyone can stand on the shoulders of giants, process-oriented avenues of inquiry around how to best apply ML are coming to the forefront. Among these is decision intelligence engineering: a new approach to ML, focusing on how to discover opportunities and build towards safe, effective, and reliable solutions. The world is poised to make data more useful than ever before!"

Clemens Mewald (Lead, Machine Learning X and TensorFlow X): "ML/AI has had a profound impact in many areas, but I would argue that we're still very early in this journey. Many applications of ML are incremental improvements on existing features and products. Video recommendations are more relevant, ads have become more targeted and personalized. However, as Sundar said, AI is more profound than electricity (or fire). Electricity enabled modern technology, computing, and the internet. What new products will be enabled by ML/AI? I am convinced that the right ML product methodologies will help lead the way to magical products that have previously been unthinkable."

We invite you to follow the publication, and actively comment on our blog posts to share your own experience and insights.

Experimenting with VR Ad formats at Area 120

Posted by Aayush Upadhyay and Neel Rao, Area 120

At Area 120, Google's internal workshop for experimental ideas, we're working on early-stage projects and quickly iterate to test concepts. We heard from developers that they're looking at how to make money to fund their VR applications, so we started experimenting with what a native, mobile VR ad format might look like.

Developers and users have told us they want to avoid disruptive, hard-to-implement ad experiences in VR. So our first idea for a potential format presents a cube to users, with the option to engage with it and then see a video ad. By tapping on the cube or gazing at it for a few seconds, the cube opens a video player where the user can watch, and then easily close, the video. Here's how it works:

Our work focuses on a few key principles - VR ad formats should be easy for developers to implement, native to VR, flexible enough to customize, and useful and non-intrusive for users. Our Area 120 team has seen some encouraging results with a few test partners, and would love to work with the developer community as this work evolves - across Cardboard (on Android and iOS), Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.

If you're a VR developer (or want to be one) and are interested in testing this format with us, please fill out this form to apply for our early access program. We have an early-stage SDK available and you can get up and running easily. We're excited to continue experimenting with this format and hope you'll join us for the ride!

Google Developers to open a startup space in San Francisco

Posted by Roy Glasberg Global Lead, Launchpad Accelerator

We’re heading to the city of San Francisco this September to open a new space for developers and startups. With over 14,000 sq. ft. at 301 Howard Street, we’ll have more than enough elbow room to train, educate and collaborate with local and international developers and startups.

The space will hold a range of events: Google Developer Group community meetups, Codelabs, Design Sprints, and Tech Talks. It will also host the third class of Launchpad Accelerator, our equity-free accelerator for startups in emerging markets. During each class, over 20 Google teams provide comprehensive mentoring to late-stage app startups who seek to scale and become leaders in their local markets. The 3-month program starts with an all-expenses-paid two week bootcamp at Google HQ.

Developers are in an ever-changing landscape and seek technical training. We’ve also seen a huge surge in the number of developers starting their own companies. Lastly, this is an unique opportunity to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and emerging markets. To date Launchpad Accelerator has nearly 50 alumni in India, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico. Startups in these markets are tackling critical local problems, but they often lack access to the resources and network we have here. This dedicated space will enable us to regularly engage with developers and serve their evolving needs, whether that is to build a product, grow a company or make revenue.

We can’t wait to get started and work with developers to build successful businesses that have a positive impact locally and globally.

Introducing the second class of Launchpad Accelerator

Roy Glasberg, Global Lead, Launchpad Program & Accelerator

This week Launchpad Accelerator announces its second class, which includes 24 promising startups from around the world. While the number of accelerators is at an all-time high, we take a different approach with Launchpad Accelerator, a program that exclusively works with late-stage tech startups in emerging markets -- Brazil, Indonesia, India and Mexico.

See what it’s like to participate in the Accelerator.


“We provide comprehensive mentorship that delivers results,” says Jacob Greenshpan, one of Launchpad’s lead mentors. “We start by running a ‘patient diagnostic’ to determine each startup’s critical challenges, and then deploy precise mentorship, actionable solutions, and Google resources that enables the app to scale.”

Class 2 kicks off June 13. The startups will descend on Google HQ for an intensive 2 week bootcamp. Under the tutelage of Google product teams and mentors from the global Launchpad network, they will receive intensive, targeted mentoring, equity-free funding, and more benefits during the 6-month program.

Here’s the full list of startups (by country):

Brazil

BankFacil Emprego Ligado AppProva GetNinjas Edools Love Mondays

Indonesia

HijUp Talenta Jarvis Store Ruangguru IDNtimes Codapay

India

Taskbob Programming Hub ShareChat RedCarpet PlaySimple Games MagicPin

Mexico

Aliada SaferTaxi Conekta Konfio Kichink Miroculus

Google’s “Scalerator” Drives Results for Alumni

What advice do Class 1 alumni give to the new intake? “Come to the accelerator with an open mind. You will be shocked to find how many things are going wrong in your app. Thankfully the mentors will help you implement better solutions,” says Vinicius Heimbeck, Founder of Brazilian mobile game developer UpBeat Games.

UpBeat Games had more than 1,000% increase in daily app installations in Asia during the period of a feature, as well as a 200% overall increase in active users after following a long list of improvements Accelerator mentors suggested. “We made optimizations that led us to be featured in Google Play, which changed everything for us.”

See Upbeat Games at the Accelerator in this video.

“Believe you can build a world class product. The mentors will push you to bet on yourself,” says Amarendra Sahu, Nestaway Co-founder and Class 1 alumni. NestAway just closed a $30M Series C, one of the largest investment rounds in India this year.

“Your biggest enemy is not failure; it is the temptation to be ordinary. But the mentors will push you to build an extraordinary product and scale an extraordinary startup," says eFishery Co-founder and CEO Gibran Chuzaefah Amsi El Farizy, who was announced as one of the top 27 leaders in Indonesia’s startup ecosystem, after participating in the Accelerator program.

Google announces a new Accelerator for mobile startups

Posted by Roy Glasberg Global Lead, Launchpad Program & Accelerator

Available to startups around the world, Google Launchpad offers resources, technology and expertise to help developers design, develop and distribute their apps. The Launchpad program includes a number of activities: Launchpad Week supports early-stage companies and focuses on high-impact mentorship, while Launchpad Day and Launchpad Summits similarly serves later-stage developers. So far, these events have been hosted in more than 30 countries and impacted more than 8,000 startups.

To complement all these efforts and provide a more intimate experience for developers, we're expanding Launchpad to now also include the Launchpad Accelerator - a program that offers six months of hands-on support and training to help high-potential startups in India, Brazil and Indonesia build high quality apps and successful businesses. As part of the program, developers will be connected with Google professionals, world-class mentors and equity-free funding (up to $50,000 per startup) to help them quickly scale and reach their true potential.

The first wave kicks off on January 18th in Mountain View, CA, where over twenty pre-selected startups will coincide for two-weeks of intensive programming. Afterward, each company will return to their home country where mentorship will be ongoing, both locally and remotely, for the remaining time of the program. The startups will also receive credit for a range of Google services, as well as free co-working space. In the coming month, we’ll expand Launchpad Accelerator to more countries.

We’re now accepting new applications for the next round of the program, which begins in mid-2016. If you’re interested in participating to accelerate your app to the next level, apply here!