TechInAsia: Google Launchpad program begins with 16 startups from India and Indonesia

TechInAsia: Google Launchpad program begins with 16 startups from India and Indonesia


Photo credit: Robbie Shade

Today 16 startups from India and Indonesia begin a two-week training program at Google HQ in Silicon Valley. It’s part of a new Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator program for mobile startups, which gives US$50,000 equity-free seed funding as well as US$250,000 worth of access to Google products like Maps and Adwords. More importantly, they will work closely with the global giant for six months, gaining access to Google mentors and engineers.

For the first batch under this program, Google chose startups from India, Indonesia, and Brazil which address challenges in their home regions and are ready to scale.

India’s an obvious choice for Google to engage with mobile startups and developers. The nation of 1.3 billion has over 600 million mobile users and over 400 million internet users.

Here are the 8 Indian startups Google picked for the first edition of the Launchpad Accelerator training program which gets under way today:


Doormint is an on-demand laundry services startup that launched in Mumbai last year and raised US$3 million in series A funding from Helion Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital. It is in the process of expanding in Bangalore and Delhi. The biggest challenge it faces is keeping up the quality of services as it scales up – but a huge opportunity beckons in the size of the market.


HolaChef is an on-demand food delivery service that curates meals from chefs who run their own kitchens. It has raised over US$3 million in seed funding from Kalaari Capital and India Quotient. Food startups hit a trough in India last year as quality and delivery issues tripped up a number of them. On the other hand, HolaChef, founded in 2014, has resisted going on an expansion spree. It currently operates only in Mumbai and neighboring Pune with selected chefs and not restaurants.


JustRide is an on-demand car rental service founded last year which has raised over US$3 million in seed funding from angel investors. It currently operates in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Delhi. Now it plans to scale up rapidly across India. While on-demand taxi apps Uber and Ola have taken off in India, the self-drive car rental space is relatively nascent, with emerging players like JustRide and its main rival Zoomcar.


NestAway is a rental platform for fully furnished homes in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi, Noida, and Gurgaon, targeted at the influx of migrant professionals into these cities. The Bangalore-based startup launched last year has already raised series B funding of US$12 million from Tiger Global and Flipkart. It hopes to carve out a niche in this space to compete with marketplaces like QuikrHomes, PropTiger, and Housing.


Mumbai-based Super, which calls itself the “Tinder for jobs,” focuses on helping developers, designers, and marketers find jobs with tech startups in India. One of the biggest challenges Indian startups face is to find suitable talent at the right time when they scale up. A number of hiring startups have been coming up with different solutions to meet this need.


Murmur is a media app aimed at millennials, offering a personalized blend of photos, GIFs, videos, blogs, and news. It’s a reincarnation of Bluegape which began as an online merchandize store and pivoted to a video blog, before turning into Murmur. It competes with Inshorts which began with 60-word news summaries before expanding its repertoire to include infographics, podcasts, and videos.

English Dost

English Dost is a mobile app that helps Indians improve their chances in the job market by becoming proficient in spoken English. It uses a gamified approach where a user plays the role of a salesperson and uses English in various real life situations. It competes with Hello English which can be personalized for speakers in 15 different Indian languages.


FranklyMe is a video blogging platform that helps users with tools to post and share their videos. It began as a Q&A video platform to engage with celebs and politicians, but recently pivoted into a social networking platform. Video is an emerging space in the region where YouTube is wildly popular. Another social platform for videos is Vidinterest from Nepal.

And the 8 startups from Indonesia

Those are the 8 from India in the Google Launchpad Accelerator. The other Asian country represented in the first edition of this program kicking off today is Indonesia, which is mobile-first, like India. Here are the 8 startups from Indonesia participating in the training program at Google HQ in Silicon Valley:


Jojonomic is a book-keeping app that helps users keep track of income and expenses. It recently raised funding from East Ventures. (Disclosure: East Ventures is also an investor in Tech in Asia. For more details, see our ethics policy.) Fintech is a fast-growing segment for tech startups in Indonesia, following an e-commerce boom.


Kakatu is an app that lets parents set controls on their kids’ digital activities. It also helps parents develop a healthy relationship with kids on their use of gadgets, with the help of psychologists. The startup was founded by Muhamad Nur Awaludin, who was himself a gadget and gaming junkie for over 10 years.


HarukaEdu partners with universities to provide online courses and certification. The startup was founded in 2013 and raised series A funding from CyberAgent Ventures in 2014. It is similar in concept to Schoolguru in India which has forged partnerships with 12 universities to provide elearning to their students.


Setipe has been bucking cultural taboos to get the online dating scene going in Indonesia since its launch in 2013. It uses anonymity to make the matchmaking safer. The Jakarta-based startup was initially bootstrapped and then raised funding from anonymous angel investors.


Kerjabilitas is an online service connecting persons with disabilities and inclusive employers. India has a similar service called EnAble India aimed at empowering people with disabilities.


Kurio is a smart news app that lets users discover, explore, and read the content they like. Its recommendation engine personalizes the feed to user interests and professional calling. The app was launched in late 2013. Kurio was one of the startups we spotted and showcased from our Bootstrap Alley at Tech in Asia’s Jakarta conference in 2014.


Seekmi is an on-demand home services startup, seeking to make life easier for busy millennials in Indonesia. Launched in mid-2015, it has Y Combinator partner Justin Kan and former Indonesia minister for tourism Mari Pangestu as early investors. The Jakarta-based startup will no doubt exchange notes with Doormint from Mumbai, which is also participating in the Google program, on how to ensure quality from the service providers using their platforms.


EFishery – a product of Cybreed – aims to disrupt the aquaculture industry by deploying tech to feed fish at scale. More than half the overhead cost of commercial aquaculture goes toward feeding, and this startup from Bandung wants to make fish farming more efficient. Itreeled in funding last September from Netherlands-based Aqua-Spark. Indonesia is sprawled across 17,000 islands, which makes fishery one of the main occupations in the country. Cybreed is therefore a startup to watch in this space.

Google has been increasing its engagement with tech startups and the developer community in emerging markets. Last weekend it held a live event to pick a winner from 5 shortlisted startups at the Startup India Standup India event hosted by the Indian government in Delhi. Bangalore-based Cardiac Design Labs, which helps monitor the cardiac health of patients in rural areas with wearable devices, won US$100,000 in Google credits. It will also be eligible for the Google Launchpad Week from which startups will be chosen for the next Launchpad Accelerator program starting in July.


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