Venture capital firm Kingson Capital and Akro Accelerate have partnered to give 20 South African startups the chance to pitch for a place on a two-week bootcamp in the United States (US).
Kingson, which launched its second fund in February, and Akro, which picked its first cohort in June, will on August 28-29 hold a pitch event that will see 20 South African startups pitch their business ideas in the hope of being selected for an intense, two-week US-based bootcamp.
This bootcamp will show entrepreneurs how to refine and grow their businesses, and how to sustain their venture effectively, through mentorship from US business leaders. Upon return, they will re-pitch their business ideas, with winning startups given an investment injection that will take their idea and turn it into a business.
One startup has already been selected for the pitch event, after Kingson and Akro held the first ever UCT Shark Tank earlier this month. Organised and facilitated by the 2019 InvestSoc and UCT Entrepreneurship Society team, the shark tank gave eight student startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas. The winner was Owulo, an online beauty platform that allows clients to book appointments at convenient times and locations.
Entrepreneurs keen to take one of the remaining spots at the pitch event should apply here by August 23.
“Although we see a substantial rise in South African startups, it is unfortunate that when it comes to them sustaining that startup momentum, many fall by the wayside due to lack of support. For us, it’s all about creating venture ecosystems across the venture investment landscape. In a South African context, we are looking to build on these ecosystems, and from that growth, all players will reap the long-term benefits,” said Gavin Reardon, founder of Kingson.
Akro Capital chief executive officer (CEO) Janine Basel said the event provides what is so desperately needed in South Africa – an outlet for early-stage startups to connect with investors.
“A lot of startups and founders who are the real innovators in our society, get lost between the cracks of life, as they have no idea how to get market access and investment to kickstart and sustain their growth,” she said.