SA’s Grindstone Accelerator announces Cape Town, Johannesburg cohorts

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South Africa-based accelerator Grindstone has announced the 25 companies that will be embarking on its year-long programme across cohorts in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Jointly owned by Knife Capital and Thinkroom Consulting, Grindstone Accelerator is a structured entrepreneurship development programme which assists innovation-driven companies engineer high growth. The programme prioritises access to knowledge, networks, funding and markets to the startups. 

Over the course of the programme, the selected companies will undergo intensive review of their strategies and be provided with coaching from top global resources, including some of the Grindstone alumni companies who have successfully scaled their businesses before. 

“This announcement celebrates an ecosystem effort, as many individuals have been involved at some stage of these entrepreneurs’ journeys. I’ve directly worked with many of these founders for over two years and will continue to do so,” said Grindstone programme director, Will Green. 

“2022 marks nine years of engineering growth for innovative founders and their scale-ups. To date this will bring the tally of companies we have directly assisted to 115. This cohort is our largest with a total 25 companies, 14 from Gauteng, 10 from the Western Cape and one from Kwazulu-Natal.”

The 25 selected companies include Ollie App, which provides mental health credits for remote teams; Botlhale AI, which provides a text and speech-based toolkit for creating conversational AI in African languages; 123tutors, a web-based peer-to-peer learning platform; Upstream Money, a machine-learning consulting firm that uses AI to enable customers to make better decisions; and payments platform Sticitt.

Also selected are LawyeredUp, a legal consultancy company looking to revolutionise legal in technology; Beeline Learn, a science-backed learning platform designed to remove barriers to effective learning and assist people in achieving their learning goals; AfricaInc, an ‘always learning’ media company that gives entrepreneurs and leaders everything they need to start, run and grow a successful business in Africa; fleet management platform Fleet IT; and Deep Learning Café, which assists companies in closing the gap between their ever-growing data and the ongoing critical decisions needed to promote growth. 

There are more still, in the shape of Cartrun, which uses a dark-store online retail model and is an app for grocery deliveries; Level Finance, an on-demand pay platform that allows employees to access a percentage of their earned income; Dark Pools, which develops machine learning driven applications; Popping, a pop-up markets platform for small business stall bookings; and Creditais, which accurately credit scores first-time borrowers using alternative data and machine learning.

More? How about Melio AI, which helps companies commercialise their AI solutions; Limu Lab, an online platform that provides for the learning of indigenous languages for young children; early talent discovery ecosystem Jobox; Sendoff, a mobile app digitising the funeral value chain; and Welo Health, which provides at-home health services to consumers and corporates. 

The list is completed by Blankett Tech, an interactive digital bookstore and e-library; Virtual Drive, a reversed automotive marketplace, driven by AI and chat; insurtech startup Sugar; and Ama Room, a mobile property app targeting township backrooms.

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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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