DraperDarkFlow, 500 Startups to host $1m SpeedUPAfrica

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Silicon Valley VC firm DraperDarkFlow has partnered accelerator 500 Startups to host SpeedUPAfrica, a four-day bootcamp for 100 of the continent’s most exciting startups that will see the pick of the crop walk away with a share of US$1 million in funding.

Backed by Tim Draper, DraperDarkFlow has already invested in a number of African startups and is now looking to scale up its activities with SpeedUPAfrica, for which applications are open until June 1.

The four-day bootcamp will bring together 100 of Africa’s most exciting startups along with Silicon Valley experts, mentors and investors. The bootcamp will be 100 per cent execution-driven, with hands-on workshops, live experiments, A/B testing, growth hacking, and one-on-one mentor sessions.

500 Startups will be running large parts of the process, while other partners include Singularity University, F6S and RanLabs. The bootcamp will take place at Ashesi University in Ghana.

Toro Orero, managing partner at DraperDarkFlow, told Disrupt Africa the company had noticed a big knowledge gap in startups going from product, to company, to scale.

“We wanted to do something that was 100 per cent execution-driven, not an industry event. Something so impactful it would be a defining moment in the life of the entrepreneurs and their startups,” he said.

Of the 100 startups that will be selected, 80 per cent will be early-stage and 20 per cent later-stage. DraperDarkFlow has committed to invest US$1 million in the best startups at the bootcamp, while other high profile investors are also coming on board to make investments.

“While pitch competitions are necessary for the ecosystem and could help founders hone their stories, we’re taking it a step further and going on full execution mode,” Orero said.

“No keynotes, no lectures, no panels, no pitch competitions, no unnecessary stuff. This is not a fancy tech event where we drink beer, network, and feel important, this is a four-day intense startup bootcamp.”

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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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