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Google has no plans at present to invest money in the startups it assists through its two-year old accelerator initiative, says Google Launchpad Accelerator programme manager Josh Yellin.
“Right now there are no plans to (take equity in startups). I wouldn’t say it would never happen, but it’s not what we’re trying to do right now,” said Yellin, speaking to Ventureburn last week in Warsaw, Poland during a graduation event for the programme’s fourth cohort.
Yellin said Google is rather looking to use the programme — targets existing growth-stage startups from emerging markets — to learn from emerging market startup on how it can improve its products and to build relationships with these companies.
“Sort of the moon-shot goal is to increase the capacity for the tech scene, just for developers and startups in emerging markets and around the world, which is basically going to help everybody, I mean a rising tide lifts all ships,” he said.
I wouldn’t say it would never happen, but it’s not what we’re trying to do right now, says Google Launchpad head
For the fifth cohort of the programme — which starts next month — Google has dropped the grant and ploughed the monies back into the programme to offer more business services and help sponsor startups to attend business conferences and events (read more in this earlier story).
Number of mentors cut
Yellin said over time Google has cut the number of mentors it works with, to “focus more on quality over quantity” of mentors and to ensure “continuity” in the programme.
At present Google has 12 anchor mentors, with each working with about two companies throughout the cohort. If startups need additional support, the initiative leverages a larger pool of mentors. Some of these mentors are drawn from the regions in which startups are sourced.
“They have worked with sometimes thousands of companies. Often they’ve founded several of their own companies. These are people who have been around the block and who just get it,” said Yellin.
Ventureburn was a guest of Google Launchpad Acccelerator in Warsaw, Poland on 13 December.