Google Launchpad reaches out to mid stage & growth stage startups through dedicated programs
Google has rolled out dedicated engagement initiatives through its Launchpad mentoring program to reach out to startups at various stages of growth over the past year.
Paul Ravindranath, program lead for Google Launchpad Accelerator Program, told ETtech that they now have three separate programs – Launchpad Start targeting early stage startups, Launchpad Build for mid-level startups and Launchpad Scale for growth stage startups.
He said these programs was a result of a flood of applications they received for the accelerator program that were either in the idea stage or early stage of growth with only a few having found product market fit.
“Hence, we started with the Launchpad Start program but then realized that moving early stage startups to the next stage takes some time and we need to start working with companies who are at mid-stage and late stage because that’s where I can really add value at the cusp of making real impact to users” Ravindranath said.
Launchpad Start is a five day event wherein Google’s network of mentors provide mentorship on areas like technology, marketing and user experience among others with each day focused on a specific area.
Launchpad Build, on the other hand, is typically held over one-two days where 10-15 startups essentially get validation on their existing approaches in various areas through one hour mentorship sessions in speed dating style.
“One of the main outcomes from Launchpad Build is that startups are able to make tech stack decisions. We have also noticed that product and marketing mentorship is a big need that is coming up right now” Ravindranath said.
Through Launchpad Scale, Google selects very few growth stage startups that is facing any specific challenge and connect them to mentors who can help startups figure out a solution.
Ravindranath said that they have conducted 3-4 Build events this year and 4-5 Launchpad Start events last year with one more event in the pipeline.
“Typically, our acceptance rate for these events tends to be 20%. The way we want Launchpad to stand out is for the quality of the mentor network and the experience startups get from this mentorship.” he said.
These programs have also helped improve the quality of startups applying to Google Accelerator program. “I now see lesser idea and early stage applicants and more people who have made good progress on product and their requests have become more articulate in terms of mentorship.” Ravindranath said. Google’s six month accelerator program typically selects companies that have already found the product market fit and are generating revenues.
In May, Google had announced that it has shortlisted six Indian startups for the fourth class of this accelerator programme including EdGE Networks, FastFilmz, IndiaLends, RecipeBook and SigTuple. With this batch, a total of 26 Indian startups have so far joined the accelerator programme from the country.
Last month, ET reported that Google is also working with a clutch of high growth venturesas part of a global ‘Sand Hill’ programme to mentor and deepen its technical engagement with the potential winners of tomorrow.
Through this program, the search giant has worked with Indian startups like social networking site ShareChat, food delivery apps Swiggy and FreshMenu as well as utility applications UrbanClap and HealthifyMe over the past year.