A total of 12 startups have graduated from the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 3.

Launchpad Accelerator Africa is Google’s first regionally-based startup accelerator program, which provides mentoring and equity-free support to African tech startups.

The program which kicked off in 2018 has directly created 132 jobs, raised over $7 million in funding and products from the startups are now being used by 4.5 million people.

The graduation ceremony took place on Friday at Landmark Leisure Towers on Friday.

Some class 3 participants

Speaking with TheCable, Fola Olatunji-David, head of startup success and services for Launchpad Accelerator Africa, said the programme is essentially set out for some of the best start-ups in the region and connecting them with Google resources from technology to people.

“The programme is essentially Google looking out for some of the best start-ups in the region and connecting them with Google resources from technology, to people, to mentors, to PR and support. And we are saying how can we work with them for three months and connect them and help them grow,” he said.

“We do this by taking them from different African cities, so we started off in Lagos, went to Nairobi and came back to Lagos. The programme is done in a series of what we call high touch point, which is a one-week boot-camp that we do three times, one week in the beginning, one week in the middle and one week in the end. The last week also doubles as the graduation week that ends in a graduation ceremony that we just finished now.”

SELECTION PROCESS 

Olatunji-David

On the selection process, Olatunji-David said Google looks out for people who are using technology in an interesting way.

“We accept applicants from across Africa, we look out for people who are using technology in an interesting way. So if you are doing finance, agriculture, health care, education, just show us what you are using technology to do and we look up for how can we help you do it better.

“Google is the technology leader in terms of mobile technology, artificial intelligence, so we say how do we take some of the things that have made Google great and help you become greater.

‘PARTNERS FOR LIFE’ AND MENTORSHIP

Speaking on mentorship for the participants, Olatunji-David, said they flew in mentors across Africa to spend time with the mentees.

“During the programme, at this boot-camp, we bring in different mentors, so we fly the startups here, we also fly different mentors across Africa to sit down and spend time with them.

“During the space between all the boot-camps, we spend time connecting with Googlers and mentors, so the startups do not feel isolated. And when they graduate, they are part of our alumni network, where they can always reach out to the mentor, get support, reach out to Google and we also send them early access, so when launching new technologies, they get to experience it first, their engineers can always contact us.”

He said the company isn’t looking to increase the number of selected participants as this may affect the quality of the program.

“We do it in a class by class basis, and each class, we have like 10 to 12. So we have 12 in this class, in the last two previous classes, we had 11 and 12 respectively,” he said.

“The numbers won’t go higher per class, but we have other programmes that we use to scale because what we believe is we do a high touch influence model, whereby we teach one person who then goes on to teach other people.

“So for us to really focus and teach and spend time to understand the needs of one startup, we need to have a small or relatively small class. So the number will not significantly increase but we believe that the reach, as we take the learnings from other classes, we can teach people more practical stuff.”

PREVENT MALARIA WITH N425

With just N425, WellaHealth, a pharmacy marketplace is ensuring affordable high-quality malaria treatment.

In an interview with TheCable, Dotun Neto, founder and CEO of WellaHealth, said his start-up provides malaria insurance for just N425 a month and one can also get access to malaria testing and treatments all through the year.

“We provide care for everybody and it is quite accessible because we use local, small clinics and pharmacists in particular so that you can go in very quickly. We usually find a place that is close to you, go in, get a rapid test using kits that we provide to the pharmacies and get original drugs.

“The benefit is, of course, it is affordable because you don’t have to have a lot of money in your pocket, but beyond that, we stay in touch with you via SMS to make sure that you get better.

“Beyond those times when you need malaria care, we still stay in touch and make sure that you are actually living a healthy life because we give you some benefits, some advice via your mobile phone.”

Neto said malaria is still the biggest threat in the country at present and their focus is to bring down the number of deaths.

“Malaria is the biggest problem in this country and people are dying from it, over 300,000 death a year, according to WHO,” Neto said.

“So our major focus is to bring that down by making access much better for people and making it more affordable. Over time, we do plan to increase the number of conditions that we cover. Already though, we are giving extra benefits such as blood pressure monitoring for people, so that we can arrest hypertension early, and also diabetes checks.

“We also have a system where you can chat with us so that we can help you with such small or bigger conditions so that we can refer you to where you might need care. So our goal is to make sure that you are as healthy as possible with the least stress.

Class 3 comprises 12 startups from six African countries – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda – 58% of which have female co-founders.

Applications for Class 4 opened on June 21 and will close on July 26.

Below are the 12 startups that graduated:

54Gene – Nigeria

Data Integrated Limited – Kenya

Instadiet.me – Egypt

Kwara – Kenya

OkHi – Kenya

PAPS – Senegal

ScholarX – Nigeria

Swipe2pay – Uganda

Tambua Health Inc. – Kenya

Voyc.ai – South Africa

WellaHealth – Nigeria

Zomila – South Africa



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