Applications open for 2nd edition of Cape Town-based Akro accelerator


The Cape Town-based Akro venture builder, which focuses on building and scaling high-growth startups, is launching the second edition of its accelerator programme in partnership with the SA SME Fund.

Akro took eight startups into its first programme in June, and is now back with a second edition after three of those were successful in raising further funding having completed the programme.

The second iteration of the programme, which kicks off on September 9, will offer a deeply-focused, intense period of strategising, creating and executing geared to immerse participants in the practical realities of running a business. The programme will predominantly focus on assisting promising black entrepreneurs build and scale their businesses.   

“We plan on getting really stuck in with the companies at both an operational and strategic level, really driving their business growth. We’ll be working alongside companies to write code, make sales calls and close commercial contracts,” said programme director Pieter Strydom.

As a further benefit provided by the SA SME Fund, Akro startups now also have access to a ZAR1 million (US$66,000) gap-closing fund. Startups can apply to have some of their mission-critical costs,  including services such as accounting and tax compliance, product development costs and legal fees, covered, provided that these services get startups closer to investment readiness.

The programme is split into two phases – a Core Phase and an Extended Phase. The Core Phase is an eight-week, intensive programme that includes a rigorous workshopping, events and mentorship schedule, and the Extended Phase is a 12-week period of weekly mentoring and accountability management to ensure the benefits of the Core Phase are extended into the future. 

Startups do not have to sell any equity when they join the accelerator programme. Investment discussions will commence after the completion of the eight-week core programme. 

“As we’re generally going to be working with relatively early-stage startups, we want to give them the opportunity to build and scale as much as possible over that 8-week period before they have to sell equity. Importantly, the investments made after the Core Programme need to generate a return for the investor, so startups have to be able to demonstrate that they’ve found product-market fit and have the ability to scale their business,” said Philani Sangweni, chief executive officer (CEO) of Akro Accelerate.

“The idea is that if an investment is made, it will give a startup sufficient runway to build and scale their business until they’re able to raise a more significant angel or Series A round from a S12J fund or a strategic investor.”  

Applying startups can be pre-revenue or post-revenue, but must have a prototype or minimum viable product that can be developed into a production-ready version within two to five months. More than one founder, as well as at least one technical co-founder per startup, is preferable. Applications are open here until August 30.


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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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