88mph rejigs SA investment model with DealWeek

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Pan-African investment fund 88mph has announced it has partnered with a number of entrepreneur-investors to launch a new programme DealWeek in Cape Town this year, signalling a departure from its usual model.

88mph has already run two traditional accelerator programmes in both Cape Town and Nairobi, Kenya, and this year partnered with L5Lab to launch the 440.ng programme in Lagos, Nigeria.

DealWeek follows a different model, however, with 88mph teaming up again with 440.ng co-founder Chika Nwobi, as well as former Groupon SA duo Daniel Guasco and Wayne Gosling, as well as Neil Emerick of Nightsbridge, for a one-week programme advising selected startups on their businesses prior to any possible investment offer.

“We are excited to announce that we are testing something new in Cape Town this year,” said Sylvia Brune of 88mph.

“The biggest change is that we have invited some great entrepreneurs turned investors to co-invest with us in the startups. We have also traded out the three-month accelerator for a one-week sprint where 88mph and the entrepreneur-investors will evaluate and advise startups. The startups who make it through can receive investment offers up to US$250,000 by the end of the week.”

We have seen that startups do best when they have investors who are experienced entrepreneurs, and can share advice from their own experiences,” said Nwobi.

“However, these types of investors don’t always have time to look at more than a couple startups a year, and the follow-up procedure post-investment can be daunting for many. Bringing investors together like this is a great way to bring more of these types to the table, and also for the startup investment environment in Africa, which is otherwise quite fragmented.”

88mph will take care of gathering, filtering, and shortlisting startups, while also assisting with due dligence, projections and legal work involved.

“This allows the entrepreneur-investors to compress time and limit the cost spent evaluating and acting on investment opportunities, which ultimately is beneficial to both startups and investors. It also allows startups more freedom and time, post-investment, to independently pursue an agreed direction, reaching out to investors how and when they see fit,” 88mph said.

Kresten Buch, managing director of 88mph, said while some of the startups may be in the earliest stages, the DealWeek model was especially well-suited to startups with teams of employees, paying customers and daily operations that cannot be put on hold for three months.

“We have seen in the past that many of the best startups need individual approaches to advice and funding that the accelerator model doesn’t always cater to, and they are also very good at reaching out when they need help,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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