Google yesterday saw its second class of entrepreneurs graduate from a $3 million (Sh300 million) mentorship programme it runs for technology start-ups in Africa. A total of 12 start-ups from six countries – Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, and Egypt – graduated from the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa at an event held in Lagos, Nigeria.
Nigeria leads the second cohort with four startups making the cut: software-as-a-service fintech company AppZone; data collection solutions provider Formplus; medication marketplace Medsaf; and online rewards platform Thank U Cash.
Two South African companies were also selected: machine learning-powered insurance solution Pineapple and tutoring marketplace Preeva; as were two Kenyan ventures: experience marketplace and booking platform Cloud9xp and smart meter and connected software service PayGo Energy.
Ghana, Uganda, and Egypt each saw one startup selected – Ghana’s m-learning provider Chalkboard Education; Uganda’s EzyAgric, which improves access to finance, production and marketing services for farmers; and Egypt’s social video intelligence platform Mintrics.
Kenya was represented by two businesses Cloud 9xp, an online platform that allows people to buy and sell adventure experiences across Africa and the Middle East; and PayGo Energy, which sells a smart meter connected to cooking gas that allows users to pre-pay for only what they use.
To qualify for the programme, part of Google’s strategy to connect to and support Africa’s most promising early-stage start-ups, the businesses needed to have been based in sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market, raised seed financing and solving a real challenge facing their home country. The second cohort drew 300 applications.
Google announced the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class of 12 start-ups last year in November. They participated in the three-month programme from March to June this year. Launchpad Accelerator Africa gives start-ups access to equity-free support, working space and access to advisers from Google and top entrepreneurs across the world.
The programme will run until 2020, with two classes held each year. As part of its commitment to sub-Saharan Africa’s developer and startup ecosystem, Google has hosted 13 Launchpad Build and Start events across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa since April 2016, featuring 228 speakers and mentors, engaging 590 attendees from local startups in each country.