Google Launchpad 2015

There's good news in store for Indian startups. Google, the search giant, has selected India for kick starting its startup mentorship programme Launchpad. The programme was successfully tested in Israel. Google's selection of India signals the company’s ever increasing interest in Indian startups.

The search giant launched the first of four such week long programmes on Monday. The programme will see mentors from Google and other companies coaching Indian startups who are looking to grow and become successful.

Launchpad - which was started two-and-a half years ago - is run by Google's developer team. They examined more than 1,450 ventures and shortlisted 20 startups from it. Half of the startups in the curated list are in the B2B space while rest of them cater to businesses. Last year, Google had selected 10 startups from Bangalore and Chennai.

While the California based tech giant has an interest in India’s growing digital economy, its startup programme could also act as a pipeline for the company’s investment arm. Google’s venture capital arm had recently bought a stake in a Chennai based customer support tool called Freshdesk and a real estate portal called Commonfloor.

Google has plans of mentoring close to hundred startups in India through the launchpad programme. The programme was launched three years ago in Israel on a small scale. It was conducted in twenty different cities last year.

The search giant has an interest in growing India’s digital economy as Google gets benefitted whenever companies splurge on it in order to acquire customers. In the financial year that ended March 2014, the company’s revenue crossed Rs. 3,000 crore. The figure is up 47 percent on year-on-year basis. This phenomenal growth in Google’s revenue can be attributed to the increasing online advertising expenditure by ecommerce companies.

Google has plans of consolidating all the “bits and pieces” of its startup programmes under its Launchpad programme. “It will be like one offering to the developer from a startup perspective,” said Sunil Rao, country head, startup ecosystem at Google India.

The search giant wants to take the Launchpad programme to over 50 cities all over the world this year but in India, the focus will be on Bengaluru.

Rao, also the head of developer relations team for Google in India, has been successful in growing the biggest Google Developer community in India with over 45 chapters spread across the country. Google Developer Relations was set up five years ago in Hyderabad.

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