After “pilot” program in Canada, Google expands cloud accelerator to US startups

Google Cloud
The accelerator will support startups building AI applications in the cloud.

Google has launched an accelerator for North American startups that build on cloud computing services, and is taking applications for its inaugural cohort. Applications close on May 30.

This new program is an extension of an accelerator that Google first launched in Canada.

Google Cloud brought generative AI capabilities to its Vertex AI platform in March.

A spokesperson for the company told BetaKit that Google piloted the cloud accelerator program in Canada in 2021 and 2022. Notably, Google did not call the program a pilot at the time. However, the spokesperson stated that Google saw strong demand for an accelerator for cloud-native startups and decided to open it up to Canada and the United States.

The last all-Canadian cohort for the cloud accelerator took place in 2022.

Google launched its first Canadian accelerator program in Kitchener-Waterloo in 2020 and has since opened several others to Canadian companies, including ones focused on Climate Change, Black Founders, and Women Founders.

According to Google, this expanded North America-wide accelerator will support eight to 12 tech startups that use cloud-native technologies, including artificial intelligence and analytics, in their product, service, or operations.

Google Cloud provides cloud computing services to allow users to build, deploy, and scale applications on the same infrastructure as Google. In particular, Google said it has seen startups choosing Google Cloud to advance their generative AI development as the technology becomes more widely adopted.

As part of the accelerator, participants can gain access to cloud mentorship and technical project support, as well as workshops on product design, customer acquisition, and leadership development.

The accelerator is part of Google’s broader push to support startups building AI applications on cloud computing services. Today, Google also announced it expanded its Google for Startups Cloud program, meant to provide exclusive benefits for AI startups.

Eligible seed to Series A startups that use AI as their core technology can now apply for the Google for Startups Cloud program.

Selected participants can receive up to $350,000 USD over two years in Google Cloud credits, in addition to having access to AI mentorship from experts, hands-on AI learning labs, and other perks.

RELATED: Google reveals second cohort of Canadian cloud accelerator

Since generative AI rose to popularity in mainstream media over the past year, Google has been active in launching new products to make itself a leader in the space.

Google Cloud brought generative AI capabilities to its Vertex AI platform in March to help businesses and governments build their own applications. In the same month, Google launched its own AI chatbot named Bard to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Both platforms have faced criticism over concerns of providing misinformation to users.

Scientists from DeepMind, Google’s AI research lab subsidiary, took part in an open letter that calls for a six-month pause on training systems for advanced AI.

The open letter, which also saw Mila co-founder Yoshua Bengio and Twitter owner Elon Musk as signatories, is meant to flag the speed at which AI is being developed and the need to regulate it.

Featured image courtesy Google Cloud.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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