The Covid-19 pandemic has upended life as we know it and startups in the early stages of their journeys, with little to no cushion to keep them going, have become among the most vulnerable to the economic crises around the world. At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption across sectors and equally, also poses immense opportunity for tech enabled startups, the rails for which are now much wider and growing fast.
The charter for Google for Startups Accelerator, since inception, has been to bring the best of Google to India’s thriving startup ecosystem, leverage Google’s learnings across the globe to help startups home in on the crux of building their solution, than waste resources reinventing the wheel. Since 2015, GFS Accelerator has mentored over 600 startups and accelerated over 60, which have collectively gone on to raise over $700 million in funding and played a key role in making India the second largest startup ecosystem in the world.
This mission is more important than ever right now, when this ecosystem faces unprecedented odds. And so we have devoted this year to single-mindedly focusing on helping startups tide over the next 18-24 months, when the effects of the pandemic will be felt the strongest.
Since the start of the year, over 500 startups have benefitted from mentorships and webinar content specially created by Google mentors and collaborators. Earlier in the year, we joined forces with our mentors and ecosystem collaborators to launch Emerging Stronger: Playbook for Startups to face the Covid-19 Challenge, a guide accessible widely to startups all over the country, comprising actionable tips for reducing burn and lengthening runway during the pandemic.
In the same vein, we also decided to expand the scope of GFS Accelerator India, our 3 month mentorship and support program for startups, to include startups that are not only utilizing cutting edge tech but are meaningfully helping India, and potentially the world, adapt and move forward in this crisis.
After screening over 600 applicants, we have identified 20 startups, instead of our usual batch size of 10, to form the fourth class of GFS Accelerator India. These startups will receive 3 months of mentorship and support from our network of internal and external mentors. The ongoing support ranges from access to Google teams, tech guidance on projects, machine learning related support, UX and design mentorship, leadership workshops, networking opportunities at industry engagements, PR support and much more.
The latest batch comprises startups across key areas requiring innovation such as education, retail, mental health and wellness, healthtech, fintech and agritech and more. A warm welcome to the Class 4 of Google for Startup Accelerator India!
Posted by Paul Ravindranath G, Program Manager, GFS Accelerator