Google has expanded its Launchpad Accelerator programme to Thailand by selecting two Thai startups, Wongnai and Skootar, to join the initiative in which they will work closely with the US-based tech giant for six months.
Bok Thye Yeow, developer relations programme manager for Google Thailand, said that the unveiling of the programme in the Kingdom followed its launch in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The programme is designed to help latter-stage startups, which have received at least early series-A funding, have live products and users, and are growing.
The important criteria is having products/services that solve problems in the startups home countries.
“The idea behind this is we believe startups should target local problems, to help solve local problems and contribute back to their home country before expanding outside [it],” Yeow said.
Thirty-one startups from multiple countries joined the Launchpad Accelerator programme this year.
Wongnai is a platform to connect users to reviews on and information about more than 200,000 restaurants across Thailand.
Skootar is a booking platform for on-demand motorbike messenger and courier services for businesses.
“We just started with Thai startups in 2017. It is good timing since the startup ecosystem in Thailand is really vibrant. There are a lot of opportunities here,” Yeow said. “Launchpad Accelerator is delicately designed for helping startup ecosystems which are still growing. The programme is designed to develop startup ecosystems.
“We really want to continue this programme in Thailand. We run one batch per year. The next batch will be next year and it is possible that there will be more than two startups from Thailand joining it.”
In general, the startups should thinks about how to use technology to solve local problems in each vertical areas.
The programme lasts for six months. Two startups will join Google’s bootcamp in Mountain View, California, for two weeks. There the startups will meet mentors, Google’s internal team for both business and engineering, and startups in the same vertical areas.
The programme is currently operating in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico) and Asia (India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines). There is a plan to expand it to other countries.
As part of the programme, startups also receive equity-free support; two weeks of all-expense-paid training at Google headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley; credits for Google products; public relations training; and global media opportunities.