Google Cloud Unveils Accelerator Program to Boost Government-Backed ONDC

In a move to bolster the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), an Indian government-supported initiative, Google Cloud has introduced an accelerator program. The announcement was made by Ambarish Kenghe, Vice President of Google Pay, during a developer conference held in Bengaluru.

The primary objective of the accelerator program is to provide businesses with access to Google Cloud’s cutting-edge technology and expert guidance. This support will facilitate seamless integration into the ONDC network, enabling the development of enhanced digital commerce experiences.

“We are launching an accelerator program for ONDC to support the growth of India’s robust network of digital sellers,” said Kenghe. He emphasized Google’s commitment to nurturing India’s digital ecosystem through technological innovation and capabilities.

Under the program, Google Cloud will offer its core infrastructure application programming interfaces (APIs) as an open-source solution to ONDC participants. Additionally, the tech giant will provide retail search and generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools to enhance the buyer and seller experiences on the network.

Furthermore, Google Cloud will introduce an ONDC startup credits program, granting participants the opportunity to apply for up to $25,000 in grants. The integration of address descriptors on Google Maps will also optimize the serviceability of ONDC orders, ensuring a seamless delivery experience.

T Koshy, the Managing Director and CEO of ONDC, expressed enthusiasm for the inclusion of Google Cloud’s accelerator program, emphasizing its alignment with ONDC’s mission to revolutionize the ecommerce landscape by fostering efficiency, agility, and customer-centricity.

ONDC, a private non-profit company supported by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), aims to democratize ecommerce and increase its penetration in India. The platform underwent a soft launch in five cities, including Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong, and Coimbatore, in April of last year. Subsequently, it opened to the public in Bengaluru and has since onboarded several key players to expand its network.

The integration of various services with ONDC, including Marico’s Saffola Store, Paytm, PhonePe, Delhivery, Shiprocket, Dunzo, and Snapdeal, has further solidified its position in the market.

Despite initial speculation that ONDC could pose a long-term risk to industry leaders like Zomato and Swiggy, industry analysts have noted that the current iteration of ONDC does not present a significant threat. However, scaling the network in the future could potentially have implications.

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