Cape Town-based Akro accelerator picks 8 startups for inaugural cohort

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The Cape Town-based Akro has selected eight South African tech startups for its accelerator programme, which it claims operates a new model for building, funding and scaling startups.

Akro Capital is a venture builder that focuses on building and scaling high-growth startups, and its first programme, which kicked off this week, offers a deeply-focused, intense period of strategising, creating and executing to immerse participants in the practical realities of running a business.

The programme will predominantly focus on assisting promising black entrepreneurs build and scale their businesses, and is supported by the SA SME Fund, which is backing a host of South African incubators and accelerators.

Eight South African tech companies have been selected for the programme, among them community service directory iMpilo, tech training company Africa Trust Academy, livestock farming platform Bulrush Agritech, and emergency services platform Respo.

On-demand babysitting service WeSit, student freelancing platform Jobox, vehicle maintenance service DentX, and skokel-focused fintech startup SpoonMoney complete the list.

The programme is split into two phases, a Core Phase and an Extended Phase. The Core Phase is an eight-week, intensive programme that includes a rigorous workshopping, events and mentorship schedule, while the Extended Phase is a 12-week period of weekly mentoring and accountability management.

“The accelerator market in South Africa is growing rapidly, which is amazing to see. We’re coming to the market with a new model which we believe will increase the number of startups that secure funding,” said Janine Basel, chief executive officer (CEO) of Akro Capital.

“Akro has been in the business of working with early-stage companies for more than four years now. Creating this programme was really the natural next step for us to package our knowledge and learnings into a 20-week period of intense company-building.”

Philani Sangweni, a previous Accenture senior manager and ex-COO of Fundi, is heading up the Akro accelerator.

“We plan on getting really stuck in with the companies at both an operational and strategic level… really driving their business growth. We work alongside companies to write code, make sales calls and close commercial contracts,” Sangweni 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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