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Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa announces first cohort of 12 startups

Google earlier today announced 12 startups that will participate in the first Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa class at an event in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme is aimed at early-stage African startups and will operate out of Lagos, Nigeria.

In a statement, Google Nigeria country director Juliet Ehimuan said when the initial Launchpad Accelerator Africa announcement was made last year, the company also extended its Digital Skills for Africa initiative to train 10 million Africans over five years.

The 12 startups in Google’s first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class are from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and South Africa

“The scholarships announced today form part of that commitment,” added Ehimuan.

The Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme will over the next three years provide African startups with over $3-million in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley and Africa.

Participants will also receive travel and public relations support during each three-month programme.

To be eligible for the programme, the startups have to be based in Sub-Saharan Africa and must already have raised seed funding and be targeting the Africa market.

Read more: Google opens applications for first cohort of Launchpad Africa accelerator

Google also considers the problem the startups are trying to solve, how the solution creates value for users and how the companies address these challenges.

Andy Volk, Google’s Sub-Saharan Africa ecosystem regional manager, said the company was “thrilled” to announce the 12 startups and was looking forward to working with the companies to drive innovation into the African market.

“Africa is home to incredibly smart people who are working to solve the continent’s problems using homegrown solutions and we’re honoured to be able to be part of that,” Volk said in the same statement.

Here are the 12 startups:

Babymigo (Nigeria): Social community for expectant mothers and young parents.
Flexpay (Kenya): An automated ecommerce system.
Kudi (Nigeria): Payment platform.
OkadaBooks (Nigeria): A social platform that allows users easily create, spread and sell their stories, books and documents.
OMG Digital (Ghana): Entertainment platform.
Pezesha (Kenya): Peer-to-peer microlending marketplace that allows Kenyans to loan to Kenyans, securely, via mobile money using big data and credit analytics.
Piggybank.ng (Nigeria): Savings platform.
Riby (Nigeria): Peer-to-peer banking platform for cooperatives and their members that allows them to save, borrow and invest together.
swiftVEE (South Africa) A platform for connecting livestock agencies to a network of buyers and sellers.
TangoTv (Tanzania): Media streaming and video on demand service for African content.
Teheca (Uganda): Helps families and individuals find the right health care providers in Uganda.
Thrive Agric (Nigeria): Crowdfunds investments for small holder farmers, and provides this to them in form of inputs, tech driven advisory and access to market.

Featured image: Robert Scoble via flickr (CC BY 2.0)