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Fintech unicorn Paddle launches AI startup programme

AI Launchpad is open to 30 AI founders to help scale and grow their startup ideas.

Paddle Christian Owens

Christian Owens/Paddle.

Payments infrastructure provider Paddle is launching an AI programme for startups backed by $10m in funding from Founderpath.

The new six-week programme, AI Launchpad, aims to upskill and empower software founders to successfully build, launch and scale AI-powered business ideas.

As part of the programme, participants will have access to mentorship from software industry leaders, connections to a community of AI founders and a chance to win a $25,000 prize for the best offering.

There are also a number of other benefits from the programme’s partners, including AWS, Activate, SaaStock and Founderpath, a $150m fund for SaaS founders, which has allocated $10m to select participants in the programme.

“2023 has seen a Generative AI boom, with companies in the space securing $1.3bn in the last few months,” Paddle founder and executive chairman Christian Owens said.

“However, having a great product is just the first challenge in a very competitive space. No matter how smart your AI tool, you won't be able to scale your company to its full potential without the right growth strategies and infrastructure in place.”

Since launching in 2012, Paddle has scaled rapidly, with 337 per cent revenue growth over the last 12 months.

It now serves more than 4,000 SaaS businesses for payments, billing, tax and compliance in more than 200 markets globally.

“In line with our goal of helping software businesses everywhere scale, our programme — backed by $10m in Founderpath funding commitments — will equip the next generation of AI leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to achieve, and sustain, industry-leading levels of growth,” Owens added.

Owens stepped away from the role of CEO a few months ago after more than a decade, with Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Fitzgerald taking over the reins.

“I started this company in my bedroom, and together we have scaled it to an enduring and recognised business approaching $100m in revenue,” Evans wrote in a LinkedIn post at the time.

“As we push forward into our next phase, I know now is the right time for me to pass the baton of day-to-day operations.”

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