Applications open for StartUp90 Cape Town accelerator

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Cape Town-based accelerator programme StartUp90 has opened applications for its second cohort, with the programme aimed at assisting 10 entrepreneurs in becoming market and investment ready.

StartUp90 is a corporate social responsibility (CSR)-funded programme that took in its first cohort of three startups in September, and aims to utilise web and mobile technologies to tackle Africa’s social and economic challenges.

Applications for the March programme will close on February 15, with startups that gain entry qualifying for three months of entrepreneurship development, mentorship, shared co-working space and a host of other services from Startup90 partners.

Managing director (MD) Sandheep Ramluckan told Disrupt Africa in November Startup90 was looking to implement a new model of acceleration, as the traditional model as known in the United States (US) and Europe had not worked in South Africa due to the lack of active venture capitalists (VCs).

“We’ve got very few venture capitalists (VCs), and they are spoilt for choice,” he said. “They can make sure that the startup they want to work with has a structure, a good team, and everything else.”

The StartUp90 programme centres on readiness for investment, hosting workshops, talks and events for its startups.

“You can’t really teach entrepreneurship, but you can teach the principles of starting a company,” Ramluckan said. “We largely just want to make sure that the startups are investor ready. They invest in a team. The way you execute can change, but you need a team.”

The three startups that took place in the first programme were Matriculate, which converts past exam papers into short concise video tutorials with full solution demonstrations; iTend, a mobile platform for businesses that want real-time access to public tenders; and CrowdHop, a mobile app that streamlines events.

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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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