Tech accelerator mLab Southern Africa and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have launched a new fund aimed at assisting local mobile, sensor or wearable app startups in developing their concepts with grants of up to ZAR500,000 (US$35,000).
mLab Southern Africa and TIA will work together to provide early-stage grants to qualifying startups, with interested parties now able to apply online to attend bootcamps in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“This partnership fills a huge gap in the digital innovation value chain by bringing much needed early stage funding to mobile app start-ups and innovators who need funding to get their ideas and concepts translated into a prototype or minimal viable product or further accelerate or complete their first product development. We believe this will also create more deal flow for next stage investors,” said Derrick Kotze, chief executive officer (CEO) of mLab Southern Africa.
The funding process will include several rounds aimed at assisting applicants to properly define their solution, development and financial requirements, and pitching material. Completed cases will then be presented to a funding panel who will evaluate and approve early-stage development grants. Successful applicants will also receive additional acceleration support from mLab Southern Africa.
“The partnership between TIA and the mLab will assist us in building a pipeline of sound mobile app based innovations, which up to so far have been difficult to assess within our mainstream innovation funding scheme,” said Segopotso Moshapo, head of ICT at TIA.