SA start-up in Silicon Valley coup - TechCentral

SA start-up in Silicon Valley coup

David Wilson

David Wilson

Asimmetric has become the first South African company to join the hardware accelerator programme Highway1, based in San Francisco.

Highway1 is an intensive, 16-week programme where hardware start-ups work directly with a team of engineers and other professionals to improve their hardware, operations and sales.

Asimmetric is at Highway1 to produce the next generation of its hardware: a network sensor used to test Internet quality for Wi-Fi providers and mobile operators. (See TechCentral’s article, SA Wi-Fi start-up raises millions.)

“We’re a software and analytics business, but our proprietary hardware is an important part of how we deliver our product,” explains co-founder and CEO David Wilson. “Building hardware is difficult, but having partners like Highway1 and [Highway1 parent] PCH … eliminates a lot of risk for us.”

Asimmetric’s co-founders are currently working out of Highway1’s office and prototyping lab in San Francisco.

The programme includes access to mentors, a cash investment, opportunities to pitch to venture capitalists and a trip to China to meet and work with manufacturers.

Asimmetric's founding team, from left to right: Fouad Zreik, David Wilson, Ross Douglas and Michael Champanis

Asimmetric’s founding team, from left to right, in the Highway1 offices: Fouad Zreik, David Wilson, Ross Douglas and Michael Champanis

Co-founder Ross Douglas recently returned from the trip to China. He says Asimmetric will bring back what it’s learnt to South Africa and will continue to manufacture its hardware in Cape Town.

Asimmetric is one of 13 companies selected out of about 350 that applied to participate in the programme. Fifty-eight start-ups have participated in the programme to date. Alumni have raised more than US$60m in funding.

News that it has joined the programme comes just six weeks after another South African start-up, home cleaning specialist SweepSouth, revealed that it had become the first local company to be selected by 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund and start-up accelerator.  — © 2015 NewsCentral Media

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