Google Launchpad, as it is called, will be a 5-day programme between November 3 and 7 in Bangalore, and will see a number of senior Googlers coming down to mentor the startups in technology, product strategy, user interfaces, user experiences, and marketing. The event will conclude with a demo day where the startups will make a pitch to VCs and investors.
“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,” said Sunil Rao, country head of the startup programme in Google India.
About 25 startups will be part of it. Among those already selected are CoSight, which helps make sales executives more efficient, iReff Technologies, which allows you to find the best prepaid mobile recharge plan for your needs, and Smart Pocket, which manages all your loyalty cards on the phone. These three are also part of Nasscom’s 10,000 Startup programme. Two startups who were winners at the MIT Global Startup Labs demo day are also part of it – AdWyze, which provides interactive direct response solutions, and Wazzat Labs, which delivers efficient image processing, computer vision and graphics solutions on mobile platforms.
Others identified so far are Bluehat Education, an e-learning firm, CashKumar, which allows you to get the best rate on foreign exchange, and RightDoctor, which helps find the right doctor for your ailment, Frilp, which helps find shops and services used and recommended by your friends, colleagues and other like-minded people, and Expin.me, a storybuilder application.
The first edition of Launchpad was launched in Israel a year and half back, and it was so successful that Google has had about 14 of these events there since then, with each batch having 15-20 startups. Launchpad was later taken to Brazil.
For the Bangalore event, there will be about 20 mentors, half of who will be Googlers from California and Israel, including Amit Shevat, Google’s startup outreach programme manager.
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 was championed by Google India MD Rajan Anandan and the programme had provided a huge booster shot to India’s technology entrepreneurial ecosystem. “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.