Johannesburg-based startup SweepSouth has become the first South African startup accepted to Silicon Valley incubator 500 Startups, while Ghana’s Kudobuzz also made the cut for the 14th round of the accelerator programme.
SweepSouth provides an Uber-style platform that allows users to book home cleaning services online from their phone, laptop or tablet, connecting homeowners with “an experienced, reliable, vetted and insured cleaner in minutes”.
Launched in June 2014, Disrupt Africa reported the startup reached operational break-even within three months, and in May this year went on to secure and undisclosed amount of funding with the round led by Newtown Partners – a South African seed fund established by Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen – and also including Pule Taukobong’s AAN and Polo Leteka Radebe’s Identity Development Fund (IDF).
Ghanaian startup Kudobuzz provides a reviewing and marketing solution for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), helping businesses to generate verifiable reviews, drive traffic and increase sales.
Launched in 2013, Kudobuzz was incubated by Ghana’s Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).
SweepSouth is the first South African startup to be accepted onto 500 Startups’ accelerator programme, while only a handful of pan-African startups have been selected to participate in the past.
The 500 Startups accelerator – launched by Silicon Valley veteran Dave McClure – is a four-month long programme held in Silicon Valley, which comes with US$125,000 in funding for each participating startup.
The programme is very selective, with thousands of applicants vying for intake, and only two per cent of applicants successfully making the cut.
“The focus of the next four months is clear – achieve exponential growth and present our achievements in front of some of the top investors and media houses in the world. Each week we are exposed to more impressive mentors and each week our, and their, expectations grow. Its exhilarating…in a terrifying way,” said Aisha Pandor, chief executive officer (CEO) of SweepSouth.
“We hope that the experiences and international backing we have from the 500 Startups team and our local investors will set SweepSouth for a very prosperous future and help us further contribute to our country’s economy,” she said.