Google picks start-ups for inaugural AI accelerator

The first cohort of start-ups participating in the Google for Start-ups Accelerator: AI First initiative.
The first cohort of start-ups participating in the Google for Start-ups Accelerator: AI First initiative.

Search engine giant Google has introduced the first cohort of the Google for Start-ups Accelerator: AI First programme.

Google selected 11 African start-ups that are using artificial intelligence (AI) to address Africa's challenges and broader global issues.

The cohort is made up of start-ups from South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Senegal.

According to Google, the selected start-ups will undergo a 10-week accelerator journey.

Participants will be exposed to Google's AI expertise, receive a $350 000 (R6.9 million) allocation in Google Cloud credits, as well as mentorship sessions, technical guidance and networking opportunities.

Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of start-up ecosystem for Africa, says: “At Google, we’ve been working on AI for over a decade, and we’ve shown how useful AI is in our products and for developers externally.

“AI is not only a powerful enabler; it’s also a major platform shift. That’s why we’re focused on making it easy and scalable for others to innovate with AI. Our chosen start-ups for the 'AI First' programme embody this vision, leveraging AI in pioneering ways to address local and global challenges.”

Among the selected start-ups are Nigeria’s Famasi Africa, South Africa’s Avalon Health and Kenya’s Dial Afrika.

Adeola Ayoola, CEO and co-founder of Famasi Africa, comments: “Famasi Africa is scaling AI-powered digital health solutions to reach more underserved communities. Joining the Google for Start-ups Accelerator: AI First programme represents a significant step towards realising that dream.

“With Google's mentorship, we're confident of scaling our solutions, reaching more pharmacies, and ultimately improving healthcare outcomes.”

Japheth Dibo, CEO and co-founder of Dial Afrika, says: “Being selected for the Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First programme will allow us to leverage advanced AI technology to make our vision a reality. We aim to revolutionise customer support and equip businesses across the African continent with the tools to thrive and excel.”

The other selected start-ups are:

  • Chatbots Africa(Ghana): Spearheading SMEs' transition into the social commerce era with AI-driven online storefronts.
  • Fastagger (Kenya): Using AI to amplify sales and loyalty, supporting MSMEs' growth.
  • Garri Logistics (Ethiopia): Digitalising freight brokerage and transport services.
  • Izifin (Nigeria): Providing an end-to-end credit infrastructure via API for small businesses.
  • Lego AI (Senegal): A data-driven OS for the informal sector.
  • Logistify AI (Uganda): Minimising inventory losses in industrial facilities.
  • Telliscope (Ethiopia): Offering an AI-enabled business intelligence platform.
  • Vzy (Nigeria): Revolutionising website building with AI-driven tools that craft sites in minutes.

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