Startupbootcamp launches first African programme in Cape Town

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Global accelerator Startupbootcamp has announced the launch of its first Africa-based programme in Cape Town, with the aim of growing disruptive startups and connecting them with dynamic corporates for collaboration and to build the African tech ecosystem.

Launched in 2010, Startupbootcamp operates 18 accelerator programmes across 13 countries, in locations that include Amsterdam, Berlin, Istanbul, London, Singapore, Miami and New York.

Disrupt Africa reported last year Startupbootcamp was seeking corporate backing to launch a three-year programme of accelerators in South Africa, and it has now obtained that through partnerships with BNP Paribas and PwC.

Startups from around the world can apply now to be part of the first three-month Cape Town programme. Startups from South Africa and Tanzania have been accepted onto Startupbootcamp programmes elsewhere in the past, but like many other global accelerators Startupbootcamp’s interest in Africa is growing.

The new programme will bring together top startups from around the world, a mentor network of renowned industry experts and entrepreneurs, and major players in banking, insurance, consultancy, leasing and technology as founding partners.

The 10 most promising teams will each be provided with EUR15,000 (US$16,000), access to mentors, free office space, a convertible note, access to funding and a network of industry partners, investors and venture capital firms. It kicks off in September.

“The African tech and digital landscape is growing exponentially, and we firmly believe that the future of innovation will come from Africa. Cape Town is one of the most vibrant and creative hubs on the continent and we are both excited and humbled to contribute by attracting global expertise here,” said Philip Kiracofe, co-MD of Startupbootcamp Cape Town.

Natacha Baumann, head of innovation and transformation at BNP Paribas Personal Finance for South Africa, the UK, the Nordics, Belgium and Germany, said BNP was engaging in various open innovation initiatives around the world as part of its transformation strategy.

“Like RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance is looking for innovative technologies to enhance the customer experience and to improve systems and processes. We are very enthusiastic to start the partnership with Startupbootcamp in Cape Town what answers both our willingness to boost the cooperation with startups and will help in leveraging the potential of the African continent,” she said.

Paul Mitchell, fintech lead for PwC South Africa, said his company was excited to be part of Startupbootcamp’s first foray into Africa.

“Our clients recognise the disruption potential of fintechs and other startups, and we are helping many of them to harness the opportunities arising from this. Startupbootcamp provides a great way for the industry incumbents to connect to startups, and to learn about their impact,” he said.

Startups from all over the world are invited to present their ideas to the Startupbootcamp team at a series of ‘FastTrack’ days between May and July. These FastTracks are being held globally in cities including Accra, Amsterdam, Cairo, Cape Town,Doha, Dubai, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, London, Nairobi, Paris, and Tel Aviv.

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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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