Global accelerator Startupbootcamp has selected 10 startups for its first African programme, which kicks off in Cape Town on September 4.
Launched in 2010, Startupbootcamp operates 18 accelerator programmes in locations that include Amsterdam, Berlin, Istanbul, London, Singapore, Miami and New York. The company announced the launch of its first African programme in April.
After a three-month global search that saw Startupbootcamp travel across 12 countries on three continent to conduct 15 FastTrack events, 518 applications were received for the accelerator programme from 43 countries. Over 400 of those were from Africa, with 220 from South Africa alone.
Seven South African startups have made the final cut after a selection day earlier this week. They are social enterprise Brownie Points, insurtech startups Fo-Sho and Strider, AI platform Got Bot, ad-tech startup Just Now, e-commerce platform Virtual Drive, and savings startup Yethu.
Each be provided with EUR15,000 (US$17,600), access to mentors, free office space, a convertible note, access to funding and a network of industry partners, investors and venture capital firms.
“The African business and consumer sector is set to be the fastest growing market by the turn of the century. Innovative technological solutions in financial services, artificial intelligence, big data and IoT are leapfrogging conventional solutions put forward by traditional businesses. We believe that African startups are at the forefront of this innovation trend and we are excited to take part,” said Zachariah George, co-MD of Startupbootcamp Africa.
Fellow co-MD Philip Kiracofe said he had been attracted to Africa in the first place by a study conducted by the United Nations that said between now and the end of the century the world’s population will increase by four billion, with 90 per cent of that increase coming from Africa.
“When you think about an increase of that magnitude, it’s going to require disruption across every element of life. There’s no hope for incremental growth, it’s going to have to scale massively. What’s exciting for us is that we can find massively scalable, disruptive, transformative technologies and solutions and seeing disruption across every element of life. That’s one of the things that makes the Africa programme so unique,” he said.
The accelerator is anchored by leading corporate sponsors Old Mutual, RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Nedbank, Woolworths Financial Services and PwC.
“RCS acknowledges that there is a wealth of available potential that exists in both Africa and the startup space,” said Regan Adams, chief executive officer (CEO) of RCS, “As one of the leading financial services institutions in South Africa, we are constantly looking for new opportunities to engage with the up-and-coming thought leaders of the future. Startupbootcamp was the perfect partner to support this vision.”