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Four members of South African aerial data analytics platform Aerobotics are set to take part in the fifth class of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator which kicks off in two week’s time in Silicon Valley.
The four — CEO James Paterson, CTO Benji Meltzer, lead developer Nic Coles and COO Andrew Burdock — are set to join the members of 23 other startups from around the world for the start of the fifth cohort of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator at the Google Developers Launchpad Space in San Francisco.
The 24 startups are expected to spend two weeks in San Francisco for an all expenses-paid training which is a part of the accelerator’s six-month programme.
Burdock said the startup — which focuses on tree crops and whose founders see the US as a big potential market — are expected to set up meetings with US investors and potential partners in the agriculture sector while over there.
He said technical support and insights from Google will form a major focus of the programme for the startup.
Aerobotics CEO James Paterson, CTO Benji Meltzer, lead developer Nic Coles and COO Andrew Burdock will attend the Launchpad Accelerator
“We believe incredible tech is being developed throughout Africa but spending time with a world tech powerhouse like Google for a couple of weeks, will no doubt help us take our business to the next level and provide amazing insight on how to scale digital products,” he said.
He said the startup’s team is looking to learn more about product development and growth strategies, as well as to improve their knowledge on Google products like Google Cloud, TensorFlow and AdWords.
“Further, interactions with technical teams at Google will hopefully help us extend our cloud processing and machine learning capabilities,” he added.
Last year the Launchpad Accelerator took a decision to stop allocating funding to startups from the fifth class, and instead provide equity free support and credits for Google products.
Asked for comment on this development, and on whether startups are more likely to benefit more from funding and not just support and service, Burdock said this was dependent on what stage startups are at.
“The majority of the businesses participating in the accelerator programme are slightly later stage and do not require these cash injections,” he said.
“Their decision to reinvest the money into developing our business through conferences and global exposure will be really appreciated, as based in South Africa we are a long way from the tech hubs of the world we do not get to interact with and learn from our peers as often as we would like,” he added.
So what does the award-winning startup have in store for 2018?
The COO said the company — which has set its sights on “having the leading tree crop analytics platform globally in the near future”– will over the next 12 months focus on commercialising its product across Africa and other target regions as well as the continuous improval of it’s suite of analytics.
Featured image: Aerobotics office (Supplied)