Barclays, Techstars select 10 startups for Cape Town accelerator

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The first class of startups has been selected for the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, with businesses from nine countries now set to undergo acceleration in Cape Town and have the chance to earn up to US$120,000 in investment.

Disrupt Africa reported in October Barclays was bringing its accelerator programme, which is already active in the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK), to Cape Town.

The programme is based on a mentor-led approach, with mentors including David Cohen, founder and managing partner of Techstars, and Ashley Veasey, group chief information officer (CIO) of Barclays Africa.

Having received applications from over 45 countries for the three-month programme, 10 companies were selected to join the cohort from nine different countries.

“The companies encompass a wide array of verticals within fintech – including international payments, mobile medical insurance, land title registration via blockchain and financial inclusion. This diversity signifies the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial talent that exists in this class,” Techstars said.

The cohort includes Kenya’s iNuka Pap, a mobile platform that partners with credit co-operatives to allow their members to conveniently deposit, withdraw and access instant micro-loans as well as access other credit services, Tanzanian micro-insurance platform Edge Point, and South African parking solutions app WizzPass.

The other African startups selected for the programme are Ghanaian church management solution Asoriba, Nigerian lending platform Social Lender, and Uganda’s Tech4Farmers, which provides farmers with real-time access to market information.

Non-African business selected for the programme ae US companies BenBen and Beyonic, UK startup SimbaPay, and Lebanese startup Re-Able.

“At Barclays Africa we recognise that to drive innovation within the bank, we also need to look outside the organisation and embrace the innovative start-up ecosystem. I am looking forward to working with these 10 startups as we find increasingly innovative ways to help Africa prosper,” said Paul Nel, Head of Open Innovation at Barclays Africa.

“We are thrilled to be in partnership with Barclays Africa on this fintech accelerator, which represents Techstars’ first foray into the African continent,” said Greg Rogers, executive director at Techstars.

Barclays itself has already run one programme at its Rise facility in Cape Town, in October launching Tech Lab Africa, which worked with e-health and fintech startups in a bid to provide them with access to business mentors, industry leaders, influencers and experts.

The bank subsequently signed proof of concept agreements with three startups that participated in the programme, while ventures taking part in the programme raised US$10 million in funding.

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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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