10 SA startups chosen for Johannesburg-based Grindstone accelerator


Ten South African tech startups have been selected to take part in the first Johannesburg edition of the Grindstone accelerator programme, which assists high-growth, innovation-driven SMEs in becoming sustainable and fundable.

Launched by Knife Capital in Cape Town in 2013, Grindstone engineers growth for South African innovation-driven entrepreneurs, with previous cohorts including the likes of ticketing solutions provider Quicket, augmented reality animation and gaming company SeaMonster, and transport data company WhereIsMyTransport.

The structured entrepreneurship development programme launched in Johannesburg for the first time this year after Knife Capital joined forces with the SA SME Fund and Deloitte. After receiving more than 400 applications, 30 businesses were invited to a day-long investment readiness workshop to whittle the shortlist down to the final 10 startups.

That final 10 includes visitor management system WizzPass, data analytics and marketing automation tool LeadRobot, satellite and IP tech solutions startup MSAT, IoT company Marc1, and sanitation company Liquid Gold.

AI startup Ashanti-AI, ed-tech platform [email protected], talent-sourcing platform Crayon, mobility startup LÜLA, and specialist social media company Farosian complete the list.

Grindstone will provide the 10 scale-up companies selected for the year-long programme with knowledge, networks and funding readiness through growth measurement, gap analysis and deep interventions designed to build a foundation for growth, transfer skills, create relevant business networks and enable these companies to take advantage of market access opportunities.

Ketso Gordhan, chief executive officer (CEO) of the SA SME Fund, said it was a significant milestone for the Johannesburg startup ecosystem.

“We are excited about the calibre of the first Johannesburg cohort and so grateful to Knife Capital and the other value-adding partners for making it happen,” he 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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