Google to launch startup accelerator in three Latin American countries

By February 14, 2018

Google’s investment into Latin American markets continues to amp up, as representatives from the Silicon Valley tech giant announced Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia as three new sites for Google Launchpad, according to a report from Spain’s El País.

As part of the Google Launchpad program, selected companies are taken to Silicon Valley for an intensive two-week course. It is described by Google as, “a global acceleration program that helps startups build and scale great products by matching them with the best of Google – its people, network, and advanced technologies.”

Paco Solsona heads the Launchpad and told El País that these startups are given “advice, tools, assistance, and expertise” to help them build their brands.

In the local accelerator program, five to six startups will be chosen every six months to receive direct mentorship from Google. Solsona said the ultimate goal for the new accelerator locations in Latin America is to breed support, not competition.

“In some aspects we will be bringing along funds, governments, and other accelerators,” Solsona said. “We don’t want them to see us as a competitor, but rather as an ally, someone that helps them build. We want to be seen as a good technological neighbor.”

The three new Latin American countries that will receive headquarters for Launchpad are set to join Brazil as the only countries in the region where Launchpad has locations.

Argentine companies that were already selected for the fifth edition of Launchpad mentorship are the online restaurant booking app Restorando and mobile gaming producer Etermax, according to local financial news site El Cronista. Their six-month program began on January 29 at Google’s Launchpad headquarters in San Francisco.

Even for those local companies who miss out on invites into the accelerator program, there can be benefits in having other startups from the region absorb Google’s tricks of the trade from right inside Argentina.

Startup accelerator Puente Labs, originally of Argentina, is already familiarized with Silicon Valley, as it boasts advisors and mentors from Google, Facebook, and Dropbox, among others. Now located in San Francisco, the accelerator has already helped bring the startup knowledge from there to give support back to companies in Argentina and Latin American as a whole.

“We acknowledge not every Latin American startup will be able to come to Silicon Valley, so we want to share ‘Silicon Valley know-how’ with them,” Fernando Franco, the executive director of Puente Labs told LatAm Tech last year. “Therefore we will be developing open online educational content so that everyone can have access.”

This article originally appeared on Argentina Reports.

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