Google Launches New Program to Foster AI Startups

Google’s new accelerator engine, Launchpad Studio, has launched its first six-month program to help companies that want to incorporate AI and machine learning into their offerings. The first group is all in the healthcare/biotech sector:

  1. Augmedix is applying deep learning and understanding to its platform, which provides electronic scribe services via Google Glass.
  2. BrainQ uses advanced machine learning to develop personalized tools to help paralyzed patients regain movement.
  3. Byteflies uses machine learning and data streams gathered from its medical devices in clinical trials and value-based healthcare delivery.
  4. CytoVale uses machine learning and computer vision to detect sepsis earlier.

Not only will the program benefit the companies involved (each will receive what Google is referring to as “equity-free support,” as well as mentors, community engagement, datasets, and testing environments), but it will allow Google to see how its technology can be of use in different areas and what the company still needs to build to be of service.

It’s no surprise that Google has decided to begin Launchpad in the healthcare sector—many are eyeing it as a potential hotbed of technological advancement. Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Microsoft have all expressed interest, but Google is the first to actually establish a program to support startups in this area.

Machine learning takes time and money, something not a lot of startups have lying around. With support from a program like Launchpad, they can move more quickly into iteration and serving their clients.

For some companies, like Augmedix, machine learning of the kind supported by Launchpad has been part of the startup since day one. Augmedix originally launched as a more traditional tech services company in the telemedicine sphere. Now it supports millions of patients every year, making healthcare management easier and more personable by freeing up doctors from tedious paperwork so that they can directly interact with patients.

“Our expertise is in building out enterprise salesforces, building strong relationships with healthcare systems, and ensuring a strong degree of reliability for what is a mission-critical service for doctors,” said Augmedix co-founder and COO Pelu Tran. “They’re not the same skill sets you would have if you were to build a machine learning/AI company from the ground up….We’re looking for a rapid education in this space.”

The companies will be part of the program for six months, after which four of them will become portfolio companies in a VC firm.

Find out more in these articles:

  1. Google Launches New Program to Foster AI Startups (ZDNet)
  2. Google Powers Up AI, Machine Learning Accelerator for Healthcare (Healthcare IT News)
  3. Google is Backing an Eclectic Group of Startups That Use AI in Healthcare (Technology Review)