After an intensive three-month global search, Startupbootcamp (SBC) has selected the top 10 startups to participate in the first ever Africa-based SBC Accelerator programme.
“The African business and consumer sector is set to be the fastest growing market by the turn of the century,” says Zachariah George, co-MD of Startupbootcamp Africa. “Innovative technological solutions in financial services, artificial intelligence, big data and IoT are leap-frogging 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.”
SBC travelled across 12 countries and three continents, conducting 15 FastTrack events culminating in 518 applications from 43 countries, with 409 applications from Africa – and 220 of those applications from South Africa alone.
“What brought me to Africa in the first place is a study the United Nations did on the growth of the population globally which dictated that between now and the end of the century the population will increase by 4-billion and of that increase 90% will be in Africa,” says Philip Kiracofe, co-MD of Startupbootcamp 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 unique.”
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,” says Regan Adams, 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.”
Benoit Cavelier, head of the SUN Region at BNP Paribas Personal Finance, shares his advice to entrepreneurs: “My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs would be to first keep focus, being specialised in one idea, and deliver it in all aspects of the business model. And we will help them because we have ideas of what we want to develop and need for our customers, clients and partners. So, we should find the right balance between their innovative ideas and what we are able to bring.”
Startupbootcamp is a global family of industry-focused accelerators that supports early-stage tech founders to rapidly scale their companies by providing direct access to an international network of the most relevant mentors, partners, and investors in their industry.
“Nedbank’s objective is to proactively develop a smarter and stronger tech ecosystem in Africa, and we believe Startupbootcamp Africa is a mechanism to accelerate the recreation and creation of new industries for the continent,” says Stuart van der Veen, disruption lead at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking, continuing: “Nedbank’s approach is to fuel tech startups through mentorship and partnership and to accelerate tech startups scaling by providing the networks and resources necessary.”
Out of a globally competitive pool of applicants, the following startups were selected:
* Brownie Points
* Dusu Pay
* Fo-Sho
* Got Bot
* Just Now
* Khoyn
* MOBicure
* Strider
* Virtual Drive
* Yethu
“The exciting thing about innovation in Africa is the mixture of greenfields where new world business models meet untapped potential. At these intersections is where great things happen,” says Paul Mitchell, PWC fintech lead. “Woodrow Wilson said ‘I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow’ – this collaborative view is how we see innovation, in partnership with our clients and in partnership with the startup community to bring the best ideas to market together.”
The accelerator programme kicks off in Cape Town on 4 September 2017.