ServLed running 2nd Ghanaian accelerator

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Ghanaian accelerator ServLed is running its second programme after successfully launching with a its first cohort of five startups last year.

Accra-based ServLed, which was formed as a company in 2013, looks to invest in and build sustainable African businesses through its three-tiered model.

Aside from the accelerator, which is its core business and takes in five startups every six months, the company also provides assistance to graduate startups through its management services arm, and is raising a venture capital (VC) fund.

Co-founder Samuel Yeboah told Disrupt Africa the ServLed accelerator, which starts in January and June of each year, takes startups through a “rigorous hand-holding and mentoring process needed to effectively build sustainable and scalable business models”.

“We typically accept companies that use technology to address relevant social issues in our markets. Another major area of focus for us is promoting quality made-in-Africa products,” he said.

Once investee companies have exited the accelerator, the management services arm provides them with assistance and support to run their businesses.

“ServLed continues to offer operational support to the companies after six months but on a paid but highly subsidised basis. This allows the companies to find their footing with the right kind of professional help,” said Yeboah.

“The focus is on establishing the right structures and business practices that assure corporate longevity. The management services business also provides support services for third party companies who do not have the in-house expertise to do so.”

ServLed typically invests an average of US$30,000 in cash and services offered in each startup, in exchange for a minority to substantive minority stake in the startup, with the minimum stake being 15 per cent.

Disrupt Africa reported earlier this week on another company incubating and investing in Ghanaian startups, with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) having invested US$15 million into its programme since its 2008 inception, with a large proportion of that representing direct equity investments into startups.

MEST was launched in 2008 with backing from the Meltwater Foundation, a non-profit arm of the Meltwater Group, which is headquartered in San Francisco, United States (US) and has 900 employees in 50 offices across the world.

With this funding, MEST provides training, investment and mentoring to aspiring techpreneurs, with the goal of launching and supporting globally successful companies that create wealth and jobs in Africa.

Yeboah says it is no surprise a number of companies are investing in startups in the country given how exciting the sector is.

“For me, the exciting technology companies are those who create solutions that address relevant needs in our market in a disruptive and scalable manner,” he said. “I love what the guys at MEST are doing with the school and incubator. Ashesi University also continues to churn out some very exciting entrepreneurial minded developers. I strongly believe the stage is being set for a serious tech revolution in our region,” 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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