Google is bringing its 'Launchpad' startup mentorship programme to India. The Internet giant has already identified over 10 startups to be part of it. Google Launchpad will be a 5-day programme between November 3 and 7 in Bangalore where a number of senior Googlers will come down to mentor the startups in technology, product strategy and marketing.
Google will mentor about 25 startups, among those already selected are CoSight, a start-up that make sales executives more efficient, Smart Pocket, which manages all your loyalty cards on the phone. Other companies included are AdWyze, which provides interactive direct response solutions, and Wazzat Labs, that provides efficient image processing and graphics solutions on mobile platforms. Both of these start-ups were winners at the MIT Global Startup Labs demo day.
Others identified so far are Bluehat Education, an e-learning firm, RightDoctor, which helps find the right doctor for your ailment, CashKumar, which allows you to get the best rate on foreign exchange and a storybuilder application called Expin.me.
Google launched its first edition of Launchpad an year and half back in Israel, and has had about 14 such events till now. The Bangalore event will have Amit Shevat, Google's startup outreach programme manager along with 20 Googlers from California and Israel.
Sunil Rao, country head of the startup programme in Google India states, "Launchpad is an exhaustive mentorship programme to help startups build at scale. By next year we want to do this every quarter, and a year from then, we hope to do it every month." Rao said startups were being identified based to great extent on the quality of the founding team. "We need people who can really implement the idea. We are also looking for those with a sound business plan and minimum product viability," he said.
Ravi Gururaj, chairman of the Nasscom Product Council, said the Nasscom 10,000 Startups programme stated, "Google's Launchpad is a similarly innovative compressed bootcamp which will deliver access to world class experts, and knowledge to further help catalyse the Indian startup ecosystem. Launchpad resembles an accelerator on steroids and we would welcome more such programmes," he said.
Google has recently announced India-specific plans including the Android One program that will be launched in October. Google has recently optimised voice search for Indian accent and had also launched Google Maps with Hindi support.