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Businesses in the start-up phase could get a $100 000 jump-start from a start-up fund and accelerator programme that has just launched in Cape Town.
88mph, assists start-ups by giving them investment, access to business networks and the know how to quickly grow their businesses.
Web-mobile ideas needed
88mph’s strategy in Africa is to fund strong teams and web-mobile ideas that have the ability to scale across English speaking Africa.
“The start-ups we look at are often small teams who lack experience and the network necessary to quickly grow their businesses. They often struggle to focus on their product and customers owing to the multitude of other things that need time and attention, like admin tasks, office related issues and finding follow-on investment,” says 88mph founder Kresten Buch.
What start-ups get
In addition to funding, the 88mph team has put together talent and resources to add more value for the start-ups:
- A partnership with Google has enabled the right space and internet resources to build tech companies, as well as access to Google’s experienced web professionals who can mentor the start-ups.
- A host of experienced local South African and global mentors have been added to the 88mph mentor network.
- 7 “Entrepreneurs-in-residence” – experienced entrepreneurs, specialised in sales, programming and web design – are being brought in from Europe and the US to work side by side with the local start-ups during the three-month acceleration.
- Finally, 88mph arranges a demo day, where the start-ups will get access to a group of investors and showcase what they’ve achieved so far.
Africa ripe for start-up programmes
Earlier this year 88mph invested in eight web-mobile start-ups in Nairobi. The three-month programme to accelerate the growth of those start-ups is now on its final leg, and the start-ups are preparing to demo their products and services to a hoard of investors on 13 December.
They have been working towards this day since the programme started, and now they hope to get enough follow-on funding to be able to scale their businesses across Africa.
Huge demand for mobile apps and services
The speed at which the mobile internet has reached the markets of Africa, now at 274 million Africans on Edge or 3G, has created a huge demand for local applications and services catering to the young and growing middle classes of Africa.
88mph is here to fund start-ups wishing to grab a portion of this growing market. So far, they have invested over $500 000 into 15 early stage start-ups.
With a new fund nearly closed, they intend to continue investing, this time aiming to invest in over 10 start-ups in the far south of Africa.
The combination of a large market, young population and opportunities within the mobile/web industry makes this accelerator attractive to any tech entrepreneurs who are looking to solve real challenges in Africa.
"Looking 2-5 years ahead, the US and Europe will be stagnating at best. I think the biggest opportunities for return on investment will be in Africa and other emerging markets.
“Our accelerator programme is a great opportunity for international tech entrepreneurs and returning diaspora to come, take advantage of the insane growth here, and work on solving some really interesting problems," concludes Buch.
The start-up programme
- Application deadline is midnight 15 December 2012
- Start-ups can apply now on 88mph.ac
- 88mph invests up to $100k per start-up
- Equity will depend on the start-up company valuations, which could range from $100k to $1mil
- 8 - 15 teams will receive an investment and get accepted into the three-month programme
- The teams will be notiﬁed if they have been accepted to the programme by 20 January 2013
- Programme starts on 1 February at the 88mph Garage by Woodstock in Cape Town, South Africa
- Start-ups will have access to tech hubs in Nairobi and Cape Town, as well as to 88mph's partner tech hubs across Africa