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Google ‘Launchpad Accelerator’ India chapter to nurture desi startups

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New Delhi, July 10: In a bid to nurture Indian startups working in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Google on Tuesday announced to open the India chapter of its global “Launchpad Accelerator” mentorship programme.

The three-month “Launchpad Accelerator” India programme has been designed to grow the AI/ML ecosystem by helping desi startups build scalable solutions for the country’s unique problems.

The programme, based out of Bengaluru, will provide a cohort of 8-10 Indian startups mentorship and support from the best of Google in AI/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, web, product strategy and marketing, along with up to $100K of Google Cloud credits, the company said in a statement.

“India has the appetite to build entrepreneurs of the future and we are proud to announce a focused programme for the next wave of Indian entrepreneurs, who are using new technologies to solve the country’s needs,” said Roy Glasberg, Global Launchpad Founder.

Over the years, Google has worked with some incredible startups across India who are using advanced technologies such as AI/ML to tackle everything from agri-tech to language web, healthcare and transportation.

“With the dedicated India-only Launchpad Accelerator programme, we will be able to build a bridge between startups and the industry ecosystem and support them to drive innovation in the India market,” Glasberg added.

Applications for the first class is open till July 31 and the first class will start in September 2018.

In an effort to mentor emerging start-ups, Google India hosted a four-day boot camp for the first 10 Indian startups as part of its ‘Solve for India’ programme.

The India-focused accelerator programme is building on Google’s “Solve for India” roadshow from last year.

Ten Indian startups were shortlisted from across India which underwent four days in one-on-one consults with experts from Google and mentors from the industry to solve critical product and growth challenges.

“We shortlisted 10 startups from 160 home-grown start-ups by travelling across 15 cities in India, and are now ready to scale this pilot as a dedicated programme for India,” Karthik Padmanabhan, Developer Relations Lead, Google India, said at that time.

The participants were the founders of startups including Nebulaa, Slang Labs, PregBuddy, LegalDesk, PaySack, Vokal, FarMart, Meesho, Pratilipi and M-Indicator.

“Launchpad” regional accelerators are tailored specifically to their local markets, helping startups build great products, Google said.

IANS

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Swiggy acqui-hires AI start-up Kint.io

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Bengaluru, Feb 4 : Online food ordering and delivery app Swiggy on Monday announced it has acqui-hired Kint.io, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) start-up that applies deep learning and computer vision for object recognition in video, for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2014, the Bengaluru-based start-up would assist Swiggy in boosting its computer-vision technology and consumer experience.

The founding members of Kint.io, Pavithra Solai Jawahar and Jagannathan Veeraraghavan, will join the Swiggy team, the company said in a statement.

“This acqui-hire is part of our strategy to scale our tech prowess by bringing in entrepreneurial teams that can solve unique customer problems, while leveraging the network and resources at Swiggy,” said Dale Vaz, Head of Engineering and Data Sciences, Swiggy.

Kint.io is the first technology-led acqui-hire for Swiggy as it makes investments in its long-term strategy of building AI-first platforms.

“AI research has leap-frogged this past year but lack of data, cultural biases and inability to adapt to our diversity has somehow always pulled us back when it comes to applying AI to India-based problems. This is where Swiggy left us stumped,” said Jawahar and Veeraraghavan.

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Microsoft acquires open-source start-up to boost Cloud business

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San Francisco, Jan 25 (IANS) Microsoft has said it has acquired open-source company Citus Data to bolster the competitiveness of its Cloud computing business.

Citus Data is a company dedicated to the open-source database software PostgreSQL. Microsoft did not disclose detailed terms of the deal.

Microsoft said its acquisition of the start-up company, founded in 2011 with about 40 employees, reaffirms its commitment to Open-Source and accelerates Azure PostgreSQL performance and scale, Xinhua news agency reported late on Thursday.

“Working together, we will accelerate the delivery of key, enterprise-ready features from Azure to PostgreSQL and enable critical PostgreSQL workloads to run on Azure with confidence,” said Rohan Kumar, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Azure Data.

Microsoft will continue to build on its promise around Azure as the most comprehensive cloud to run open-source and proprietary workloads at any scale, while it hopes to work with the PostgreSQL community to accelerate innovation to customers, Kumar added.

Microsoft launched its fully-managed community-based database service for PostgreSQL in March 2018 and it will now provide a version of PostgreSQL that scales more efficiently in response to growing demand.

“Microsoft and Citus Data will further unlock the power of data, enabling customers to scale complex multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications… with the familiar PostgreSQL tools developers know and love,” Kumar said.

Citus Data has become one of the latest open-source tech companies to have joined Microsoft since the Washington state-based Internet and software giant announced the purchase of the world’s largest open-source coding site GitHub with $7.5 billion in June 2018.

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Microsoft’s venture fund to invest in Indian startups

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Bengaluru, Jan 16: Microsoft on Wednesday announced that its corporate venture fund M12 will invest in Indian startups with a funding size of $2 million to $10 million.

Rashmi Gopinath, partner at M12, will lead the fund’s investment portfolio in the country.

M12 announced its first India investment in the healthcare SaaS (software-as-a-service) startup called “Innovaccer”.

“M12 offers unique access to strategic go-to-market resources and relationships globally. I hope we will get a great traction in the Indian market,” Gopinath told reporters here.

As the corporate venture arm for Microsoft, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) invests in enterprise software companies in the Series A through C funding stage.

According to reports, venture capital investments in Indian tech business-to-business (B2B) start-ups have been trending upwards, with over $3.09 billion raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018 — 28 per cent more than $2.41 billion in 2017.

“India offers unique competitive advantages by being home to top technical talent in the world in areas like including computer vision, robotics, blockchain and autonomous driving,” said Microsoft.

“We are thrilled to broaden M12’s reach to include India,” said Nagraj Kashyap, Global head of M12 and Corporate Vice President, Microsoft.

IANS

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