Google has announced the 11 Afrikan digital startups that will be part of its second cohort of the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa. The accelerator, which is housed in Lagos, Nigeria, forms part of Google's efforts to support entrepreneurship in Afrika.

In 2017 Google worked with its first cohort of early-stage digital Afrikan startups as part of the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa.

“The growth of entrepreneurship in Africa is critical to the survival of our continent. We’re currently as a region creating about three million jobs per year, while more than 11 million job seekers are entering the market. Google believes that empowering entrepreneurs and startups is essential to drive employment growth, and enable both economic and social development on the continent,” said Fola Olatunji-David, Head of Startup Success and Services for Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa.

Accelerating Afrika's tech startups

The first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class saw 12 startups graduate, with more than 20 teams from Google and 40 mentors from 9 countries supporting them. According to a statement from Google's Afrika office, the startups from the first cohort of its accelerator program have directly created 132 jobs and, between them, have raised over $7 million in funding, while their products are being used by approximately 4,5 million people.

The Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa program continues with the growing trend of corporates and Big Tech companies looking to be involved in one way or the other in the Afrikan tech startup ecosystem. Although this is a good signal of the growth of the ecosystem, startup founders need to still pay attention to fundamentals such as customer acquisition and expansion and avoid being too focused in participating in every possible startup competition or incubation/accelerator program that comes to their country.

2nd cohort of startups

For this second class of the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa program, the company extended applications to an additional 11 countries across Afrika. Google reports that it received more than 250 tech startup applications, including from graduates of previous Launchpad programmes, with others referred to the programme by Launchpad mentors.

Here is the list of the 11 tech startups from 6 Afrikan countries that made it into the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa program:

AppZone (Nigeria): AppZone builds Software as a service (SaaS) fintech software ecosystems for digital banks, allowing them to reduce operational costs while improving service delivery.

Chalkboard Education (Ghana): Allows educational institutions to make their curricula available via mobile devices (USSD, SMS, and internet). It also lets those institutes gather insights into student learning patterns and helps them create and adapt curricula for the mobile space.

Cloud9xp (Kenya): Cloud9xp is an online marketplace and booking service that allows people to buy and sell experiences in various locations across Africa and the Middle East.

EzyAgric (Uganda): EzyAgric is an on-demand platform that provides inclusive and data-driven access to finance, production and marketing services for farmers and agribusinesses in Uganda. It does so through a network of youth agents equipped with smartphones and other forms of agricultural technology, providing employment and helping farmers improve yields and market access in one go.

Formplus (Nigeria): Formplus allows companies to collect online and offline data through the use of customizable digital forms. The startup also provides analytics based on form answers and allows for payment collection via PayPal, Stripe, and Flutterwave

Medsaf (Nigeria): Medsaf is a one-stop, curated medication marketplace for African hospitals and pharmacies.

Mintrics (Egypt): This social video intelligence platform helps brands and agencies understand how people are interacting with their social videos, giving them insight into what is and isn’t working and thereby maximizing their ROI.

PayGo Energy (Kenya): PayGo’s smart meter and connected software service allow players in the LP gas (LPG) value chain to better serve their customers, driving the adoption of clean cooking fuels.

Pineapple (South Africa): Pineapple’s unique machine learning technology allows users to easily ensure individual items using just a mobile app.

Preeva (South Africa): Preeva is an online platform that connects students with young educators who provide tutoring help at school and university.

Thank U Cash (Nigeria): Thank U Cash is an online rewards platform that allows consumers to save and earn loyalty points that can be swapped for cash and merchants to benefit from extra spend.