Tech giant Google is called a tech giant for a reason. After making its presence felt in almost all tech segments, the company is now focused on getting its AI game right and rule the segment in the coming years. It was only recently that the company had unveiled to the world its upcoming AI attraction Gradient Ventures, Google’s on-balance sheet AI investment vehicle. And now, Google’s Launchpad has announced a new hands-on Studio program that would help AI startups with resources that would help them kickstart their company’s journey to success and scale to new heights.
The idea behind having a separate AI studio is quite simple. Google understand that the anatomy of every type of startup is different from another and they cannot be fed with the same resources to achieve success. This especially makes sense when it comes to AI startups, who are heavily dependent on data and often struggle to get enough of it. Often these startups have to go to market in phases, making their way as new data comes into the picture. Also, it has been observed that AI startups all around the world boost of having highly technical teams but not enough product talent.
Launchpad with its AI studio aims to solve all the aforementioned problems for AI Startups and provide them a level field with other startups to progress and achieve momentum success. It plans to achieve this by making them available with specialized data sets, prototyping assistance and simulation tools. Another major attraction of the Launchpad Studio is that the selected AI startups will get unlimited access to Google’s top notch talent, including IP experts, product specialists and engineers.
The Launchpad AI Studio will be based in San Francisco, with additional operations in Tel Aviv and New York City. Eventually, Launchpad plans to host events locally for AI founders in Toronto, London, Bangalore and Singapore as well.
According to Roy Geva Glasberg, Google’s Global Lead for Accelerator efforts, Google has worked with over 10,000 startups till date and trained over 2,000 mentors on a global scale. Glasberg also added that these mentors will be serving as recruiting pool for mentors that will be given the job of assisting the AI Studio.
The concept of startup studio isn’t something original that Google has come up with itself. It has been attempted a few times before, but never really gained any real ground until Andy Rubin’s Playground Global came along the way. Playground has established a name for itself by offering startups extensive services and access to top talent to dial-in products and go head-to-head with the some of the largest tech companies in the world.
In fact, Google’s AI Studio is also not an original idea. Yoshua Bengio’s Element AI recently raised a whopping $102 million Series A to give birth to a similar AI Studio program. For the uninitiated, Bengio is one of the most famous AI researchers in the world and is capable of getting the top machine learning talent to the table and compete with two of the most famous AI groups, Google’s DeepMind and Facebook’s FAIR. Though the Launchpad AI Studio missed out on having Bengio on board, but it does have the likes of Peter Norvig, Dan Ariely, Yossi Matias and Chris DiBone to compensate the loss.
While Playground has a $300 million accompanying venture capital arm and Element’s own coffers up its sleeve, Launchpad Studio, unfortunately, doesn’t actually have any capital to give out. Though capital would have been a cherry on the cake and completed the package, but there hasn’t been one instance yet when a good AI startup has failed to raise funds on its own. So, money might not act as such a crucial factor, especially when one can get access to Google talent.
If you wish to apply for Launchpad AI Studio, the Applications are now open. There are no restrictions on size of the startups and anyone and everyone with AI at its core can apply for the program.
Google’s Launchpad Accelerator is a program that empowers founders by supporting their startups through mentorship and equity-free support. The Accelerator leverages all that Google has to offer, to help participating tech startups reach their true potential. The six-month long accelerator programme selects six startups for every class. Till now, a total of 26 startups have been selected from more than 200 applications.
The program is currently operating in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico), Asia (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam), Africa (Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa), and Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland) but there are plans to expand to other countries as well.