A Cape Town-based venture fund, 88mph, has chosen ten start-ups to participate in a three-month accelerator project. In addition to a cash injection and the prospect of future investment, the start-ups get access to other companies and various mentors including a network of entrepreneurs.
Launched in November 2012, 88mph had already invested more than US$500 000 in 15 early-stage start-ups. Applications for the new programme, which started at the beginning of this month, closed in mid-December.
88mph received 400 applications and narrowed them down to the final ten. All of the company’s are Web or mobile-based and were chosen in part on the likelihood of being able to expand their services to other English-speaking African countries.
The successful applicants include online retailer CableKiosk; marketplace and digital community Adrenaline Hunter; digital directory service Near a Builder; online auction service Liquid Crunch; energy consumption monitoring site Homebug; pay-per-view video streaming site Wabona; and a property connections platform called Massive.
88mph founder Kresten Buch says the fund was presented with a wide range of propositions and sought to pick the best of them. “We chose start-ups we thought would benefit most from the programme,” he says. Because the start-ups are digital, Buch says they require only “seed money and a large network of mentors to get their businesses up and running”.
On 26 April, the start-ups will have to demonstrate what they’ve achieved to potential investors. Buch says each company has received different investments. “Each company has received between $15 000 and $65 000 depending on what we think they need to keep them going for six months.”
Buch says in each case the investment is a “pure equity investment” and that beyond participating in the accelerator there are no other obligations the start-ups need to meet.
88mph includes 12 support staff who will assist the start-ups. They include a number of “entrepreneurs-in-residence” alongside designers, coders and business development experts.
The accelerator is based in Woodstock, Cape Town, in a workspace sponsored by Google. Buch says 88mph also took some mentors from Google’s Umbono project. Google has also supplied its suite of Google apps for business to each of the start-ups. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media