Google isn’t just saying that it is an AI-first company. It is acting on that strategy. We all know about Google Assistant, Deepmind and TensorFlow. Just this month, Google also announced a new AI-focused fund called Gradient Ventures. Yesterday, the company announced Launchpad Studio.
Launchpad Studio aims to be the go-to hub for the world’s best AI entrepreneurs…Launchpad is more committed than ever to make new technological advances, like AI and ML, universally accessible and useful to startups globally.
The program starts with an “assessment” of the “startup’s goals and challenges” and for selected companies then crafts “tailored services” that may include:
- Applied AI integration toolkits
- Product validation support
- Access to AI experts
- Access to AI practitioners and investors
Launchpad Studio is Not An Investment Program
Although the Studio may introduce investors to select startup participants, financing is not part of the program. The application for consideration includes the guidance for the 15-page overview deck, “Please remember this is NOT a fundraising pitch deck.” TechCrunch’s John Mannes sums up the allure for AI startups.
AI startups love data and struggle to get enough of it. They often have to go to market in phases, iterating as new data becomes available. And they typically have highly technical teams and a dearth of product talent…The Launchpad Studio aims to address these needs head-on with specialized data sets, simulation tools and prototyping assistance. Another selling point of the Launchpad Studio is that startups accepted will have access to Google talent, including engineers, IP experts and product specialists.
Mannes compares Launchpad Studio to Playground Global and Element AI which promise studio-like resources along with $300 million and $102 million in venture funds respectively. Launchpad Studio removes the funding angle, but it is clear there are many avenues to funding AI startups. The harder challenge is often accumulating those large-scale training data sets or finding applied AI expertise. Those facets might be a bigger draw than money for the top startup teams looking to make fast progress on their AI and ML-based solutions.
Startups can apply to Launchpad Studio here.