Google plans ML/ AI – focused mentoring program for Indian Startups

Program will provide high touch support and mentoring for deploying Machine Learning/AI to build solutions for India

Building on its effort to support the growing number of Startups focusing on building solutions to solve for India’s local needs, Google India hosted a four day mentorship bootcamp for teams of ten Indian startups.  Launched last year as an India-only pilot for mentorship and engagement by Google Developers Launchpad team, ‘Solve for India’ focuses on bringing the best of Google expertise across product, UX/UI and latest technologies including machine learning and AI to help emerging startups that are focusing on building solutions that serves for India’s needs.

At the bootcamp, founders and their teams spent four days in one-on-one consults with experts from Google and external mentors from the industry to solve the critical product and growth challenges of the startups.

Speaking about the objective behind launching the program, Karthik Padmanabhan, Developer Relations Lead, ‎Google India said, “In the last few years, we have seen the growth in entrepreneurial and startup activity that goes beyond the big metros. We’re seeing a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and founders who’re innovating to solve for real challenges across Agriculture, Healthcare, Environment, Retail, Education, MicroFinance and the Indian language web. With this program, our objective is to build a bridge between startups and the industry ecosystem and provide them with the right technology support and mentorship to help them succeed. We shortlisted 10 startups from 160 homegrown startups by traveling across 15 cities in India, and are now ready to scale this pilot as a dedicated program for India.”

Speaking about the plans to scale the program further, Paul Ravindranath G, Program Manager, Launchpad Accelerator, Google India, said, “We have been very active in India with our global flagship mentoring program Launchpad Accelerator and our shorter format Launchpad events, but we realised that we needed a very local, high touch engagement program for a growing number of Indian startups that are building solutions to solve for critical challenges of India. Through the last ten months, we have focused on building the right mentorship network to support the challenges faced by these startups. And we’re delighted to share that we will be expanding the mentoring support beyond this bootcamp, by launching a structured mentorship program for startups who are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to Solve for India, and run this as an ongoing effort” Participating in the first bootcamp, were founders of startups, including Nebulaa, Slang Labs, PregBuddy, LegalDesk, PaySack, Vokal, FarMart, Meesho, Pratilipi and M-Indicator.

Mehtab Singh Hans, Co-Founder, farMart, said, “This bootcamp experience has been an enriching one. The quality insights received from mentors of diverse backgrounds has helped us rethink our approach of reaching out to millions of farmers in India. It also helped us understand how to scale our business, by leveraging existing infrastructure and opportunities.”

Kumar Rangarajan, Co-Founder, Slanglabs, said, “We are extremely happy with the feedback we received at the SFI bootcamp. The insightful presentations by the top notch mentors at Google and their feedback during the mentoring sessions helped us to learn important ways and the importance of getting more early end-user feedback on the experience that customers would get from our product. The overall experience has been really enlightening.”

Subhadeep Mondal, Co-Founder and CEO, PregBuddy, said, “It was a great learning experience for us at the ‘Solve for India’ bootcamp. Our interactions with experts in the fields of product, technology, UI/UX and marketing, helped us getting the visibility around our product, customers and inbound partnerships. Our focused discussions and debates with mentors also helped us learn to build product strategies, improve sales process, make technology platform more efficient, and design for the next generation of internet users.”

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