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Google today announced a new cohort of AI startups selected to join its Developer Launchpad Studio, a four-month, product-focused startup accelerator held at the Google Developers Launchpad Space in San Francisco.
Participating companies come from four continents, so the majority of startups selected to participate — eight of the 10 — are from outside the United States.
The Launchpad program started in 2015, but a machine learning-focused track was introduced last year. The inaugural ML class focused on health care.
Each class of startups is geared toward a particular area of emphasis. The latest cohort will focus on the financial industry, which is seeing major disruption from AI.
AI in finance is being used to do a range of things, from predicting how likely a person is to repay a loan to predicting performance of stocks.
Launchpad companies are given the opportunity to work with heavyweights at the company, like director of research and AI pioneer Peter Norvig, as well as research and development teams within the company.
The new class will include:
- Alchemy (U.S.) powers crypto investment intelligence and blockchain services for financial institutions.
- Aye Finance (India) provides microloans and small business loans.
- Axinan (Singapore) is an online-only, data-driven insurance company.
- Celo (U.S.) wants to increase financial inclusion with a mobile-first cryptocurrency.
- Frontier Car Group (Germany) is powering a platform for used car sales in places like Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan, and Chile.
- Go-Jek (Indonesia) is an on-demand service provider.
- Inclusive Financial Technologies (Ghana) focuses on identify verification for Africans without a history of banking.
- Guiabolso (Brazil) is a personal finance app with more than 4 million users.
- m.Paani (India) offers customer loyalty rewards for brands and non-governmental organizations.
- Starling Bank (U.K.) is a mobile-only bank that helps people track and monitor their personal finances.
The Launchpad Studio operates separately from Gradient Ventures, a venture capital fund created last year by Google that has come to support more than a dozen AI startups. Google is one in a series of companies with AI startup accelerators happening now or scheduled to begin soon.
The Alexa Accelerator, now in its second year, is funded by the $200 million Alexa Fund and focuses on growing the voice app ecosystem for AI assistants like Alexa.
Techstars, which also runs the Alexa Accelerator for Amazon, will open its first AI-centered startup accelerator in Montreal next week.
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