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Paddle Gears Up for Second AI Launchpad Programme to Support and Scale AI-Powered Business Ideas

Paddle, the payments infrastructure provider, has opened applications for its second AI Launchpad, a six-week programme aiming to empower ambitious software founders to build, launch and scale their AI-powered business ideas.

Participants in the 2024 programme will receive tailored guidance and practical insights from industry experts, as well as the chance to win $20,000 from Paddle for the best offering.

An increasing number of businesses are looking to AI to boost revenue, with Paddle’s SaaS Benchmarks Report revealing that 46 per cent of software companies added AI to their product in the last year.

However, the programme looks far beyond building AI-powered tools and solutions. Instead, it focuses on building successful, sustainable AI businesses. Paddle will support 50 innovative, ready-to-scale, AI-focused companies, to accelerate growth and monetise AI products.

AI Launchpad was founded in 2023, with a panel of judges selecting Virtual Staging AI, a platform enabling real estate professionals to digitally furnish images of empty rooms, as the programme’s inaugural winner.

Michael Bonacina, CEO of Virtual Staging AI
Michael Bonacina, CEO of Virtual Staging AI

Michael Bonacina, founder and CEO of 2023 AI Launchpad winner Virtual Staging AI, discussed the experience: “What really stood out to us about Paddle’s AI Launchpad programme was the access to a dedicated community of generative AI founders. This is because you’re all grappling with the same challenges – how to build a model, how to compete with the likes of OpenAI, how to acquire customers for a new solution – and so it was interesting to hear how others were thinking about those problems.

“We launched back in March 2023, and when we applied to Paddle AI Launchpad in August we had $20,000 in monthly revenue. By the end of the programme, in November, we had $200,000 in monthly revenue, because we implemented a lot of the things we’d worked on, such as implementing annual plans, getting a lot more customers, improving the product, enhancing the checkout experience, and now we have a product that really speaks to our customers.”

Building the ‘Launchpaddlers’ community

Following the success of the 2023 programme, Paddle has doubled the number of places on the programme. Participants will now gain exclusive access to the ‘Launchpaddlers’ community – a hub for Launchpad alumni to network and share resources. This community will support AI founders with data, advice, and tailored content, and will also have access to experts in their sector.

The hub will be spearheaded by Karthik Puvvada, founder relations manager at Paddle, who has built founder-facing education and community programmes for several startups, who explained: “I can’t wait to work with the team on taking Paddle’s AI Launchpad to the next level and help SaaS founders remove the invisible barriers that get in the way of growing.”

Christian Owens, founder and executive chairman of Paddle, also added: “At Paddle, our goal has always been to help software sellers grow their businesses as quickly and efficiently as possible. We started the AI Launchpad to help a new generation of software founders who are building in one of the world’s fastest-moving categories.

“After seeing the impact the Launchpad had on participants in 2023, we’re excited to grow this community and help more AI founders achieve faster growth and build healthy and sustainable businesses for the long term.”


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