12 SA scale-ups chosen for 4th Grindstone Accelerator

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VC firm Knife Capital has announced the 12 South African scale-ups chosen to take part in its fourth Grindstone Accelerator programme, which helps businesses become more investable, sustainable and exit-ready.

Launched by Knife Capital in 2013, Grindstone engineers growth for South African innovation-driven entrepreneurs, with previous cohorts including the likes of ticketing solutions provider Quicket, augmented reality animation and gaming company SeaMonster, and transport data company WhereIsMyTransport.

Twelve businesses have been selected to take part in the fourth cohort, with Knife Capital taking them through an intensive review of their strategies to provide them with the insights and tools to build a foundation for growth.

The selected scale-ups include NFC-enabled cashless payments platform Allxs, warehousing management service Cradle Technology Services, insurtech startup Ctrl, AI-based recruitment platform Digger App, business assessment and due diligence tool Kudos Africa, and online personal shopping assistant OneCart.

Multi-brand sports group Old School Group, smart security platform Sentian, staff performance and incentive management platform Sparkfolios, data solutions company Suritec, P2P storage marketplace Sxuirrel, and AI-based lending service Vizibiliti Insight complete the list.

“Each one of these companies is at a tipping point, with many strategic options to pursue. During Grindstone the entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to validate their growth assumptions and check these against the company’s ability to execute,” said Andrea Bӧhmert, Knife Capital investment partner.

Over the last three intakes, the interventions of the year-long programme resulted in the participating companies experiencing an average of 56 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue while mastering business fundamentals.

“Grindstone is about measurable growth, about building a foundation that can handle both challenges and opportunities. It is about being prepared, as interesting things happen to companies that are ready and able to act on short notice,” Bӧhmert said.

Grindstone collaborates with other incubator and accelerator programmes to augment the learning experience and continue the growth journey, drawing on various speakers, mentors and corporates to assist in supporting these high-growth SMEs. This year it is partnering with the likes of FNB, Webber Wentzel, Creative CFO, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft 4Afrika.

Knife Capital said it is also currently in partnership discussions to launch a Johannesburg-based Grindstone programme in 2019.

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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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