TechInAfrica — Last Tuesday, Google’s Sustainability Officer, Kate Brandt announced a new startup accelerator program to help and encourage startups working on sustainability products.
Brandt said on an occasion in Lisbon attending the Web Summit tech conference, where the announcement was made, that the startups wishing to create commercial businesses in the sustainability world struggle with many problems from a lack of investors to difficulties finding other startups with similar goals.
For this new program, Google is looking for 8-10 startups from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to take part in a six-month accelerator program in early 2020. Applications for the first cohort will open soon and Google plans to organize a second cohort later in the year.
Brandt says Google will judge the startups based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.
The company is not promising a direct investment in graduates of this program. Instead, it is promising that it will introduce graduates to investors. Cleantech investing has been notoriously rough through 2019. Google also promises to give the startups access to Google’s engineering resources and to help with the practical business aspects, such as setting a money-making business model.
Brandt states that Google has a long history with sustainability initiatives and launching its own products, ranging from Project Sunroof, which uses Google Earth to tell you if your home’s roof is good for solar panels, to Google Environmental Insights Explorer, which helps cities measure emissions.
This plan is not Google’s first accelerator program. As the company has expanded into everything from venture capital funds to cloud computing, the company now courts startups in many ways, from marketing cloud services to them, to a slate of other accelerator and mentoring programs.