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Women founders don't easily apply for accelerator programs: Google Accelerator India head

Google’s startup accelerator for women founders received over 400 applications for the first cohort

August 04, 2022 / 08:20 PM IST
Paul Ravindranath G, Head of Google Accelerator, Google India

Paul Ravindranath G, Head of Google Accelerator, Google India

Women founders or co-founders with good products and traction shy away from applying for accelerator programmes because they think they are not there yet, whereas men just apply and pray, said a senior executive from Google Accelerator India.

Speaking to Moneycontrol about the ‘Google for Startups Accelerator – India Women Founders’ programme announced in June this year, Paul Ravindranath, Head of Google Accelerator at Google India said, “Of all the women founders we selected, we went back to them and asked why didn't you apply last year, you are already having great traction, you are ready, and you probably would have been part of the cohort? And the answer is always, I don't think I was ready yet, I was still working on perfecting things. Whereas if you look at the men founders applying for accelerators, they just spray and pray.”

“If you look at the funding deals, in the last three years, only 6 percent of them went to women founders or co-founders. Startups with solo women founder, that number is 1.5 percent. There are multiple other challenges that women face. So we need to be have an equitable opportunity for them to address these issues,” he added.

Google India’s three-month startup accelerator programme for women founders clocked in 400 applications for the first cohort as of last week. The technology major will be announcing the names of the shortlisted 15-20 startups in the next few weeks.

Most applications came for logistics, retail, fintech and healthcare sectors.


Problem areas

Finding right hires has been a major problem for most women founders, Ravindranath said. The issue becomes double whammy when they also have to pitch and convince people about the idea they are working on, to make them join the company.

Women founders have also struggled to find the right mentors or just building a great community of fellow women founders to support each other.

“Almost 42 percent of the women founders that we've surveyed, said that there's a lack of access to a mentor. They don't have people they can talk to about things as they're building or their journey…they do find it challenging that they don't have a great mentor ecosystem,” said Ravindranath.

He added, “I don't believe there are many strong women founder ecosystems and communities out there. We want to create a women founder community and an ecosystem that is there for one another. There should be a lot of peer mentoring, peer relationships, and generally creating a safe space for them to kind of freely get all their doubts answered, or just go and check in with a peer or co-founder or find your next CEO or CTO.”
Debangana Ghosh
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