As previously reported, Google launched an artificial intelligence-focused venture capital fund earlier in the month. This capital fund, called Gradient Ventures, plans to invest anywhere from $1 to $8 million into 10 to 15 startups.
Now Google has announced a new six-month program that will help startups centered on machine learning find mentorship and support. The program is called Developers Launchpad Studio and will help startups around the globe. The studio will be found at Launchpad Space in San Francisco, with offices also found in New York and Tel Aviv. There are plans to move into Toronto, London, Bangalore, and Singapore in the future.
Applications for the first class are open and potential participants have until August 31st to send in their information. There are no restrictions on size, with hopes both early and late state startups can learn and work with each other as they make machine learning models that will resonate with larger audiences.
This studio is part of the broader Google Launchpad Accelerator program. The accelerator program provides equity-free support, all expenses paid training at the Googleplex, as well as access to Google resources, engineers, and mentors.
“Launchpad, to date, operates in 40 countries around the world,” explains Roy Geva Glasberg, Google’s Global Lead for Accelerator efforts. “We have worked with over 10,000 startups and trained over 2,000 mentors globally.”
“Launchpad has positioned itself as the Google global program for startups,” asserts Glasberg. “It is the most scaleable tool Google has today to reach, empower, train and support startups globally.”
This newest program is focused on providing answers to problems and resources that help with problems that are common in artificial intelligence startups. Some of these include a lack of data and lack of product talent to work with the technical skill these startups already have in droves.
Launchpad Studio gives access to simulation tools, specialized data sets, and prototyping assistance, along with other useful resources. However, unlike Gradient Ventures, the program does no funding. However, it does provide essential knowledge that can help startups come out of the gates at a trot.
Yoshua Bengio’s Element AI recently received $102M in Series A funding to create a program that is quite similar. With Bengio being well-known and famous as far as AI researchers go, it’s likely this program will attract great talent which allows recruiting on the same level as Facebook’s FAIR and Google’s DeepMind. While Google will not have Bengio at their table, they will have Chris DiBona, Dan Ariely, Peter Norvig, and Yossi Matias.
Of course, with Google having nearly unending resources, their main challenge will not be execution or even vision. However, that also doesn’t mean there will be no hiccups. With Capital G, Gradient Ventures, GCP, GV, and Studio, entrepreneurs will now have a ton of ways to interact with the company.
It will be exciting to see how the first group does while going through the six-week program. This may be another area that Google takes the top of the heap on, but that remains to be seen at this time.