Startup Wise Guys, Europe’s most experienced startup accelerator and one of its most active investment funds, has opened applications for its new program focusing on digital, B2B SaaS startups in East and West Africa. Selected startups will be invited to participate in a rigorous, online accelerator that includes up to €65,000 for a maximum of 12% equity. The program, the first-ever pan-African, SaaS-focused accelerator, is set to begin in February.
Selected startups will be invited to participate in a five-month intensive accelerator that will combine online modules with local and international mentors and experts. A pre-accelerator program commenced on October 25, which is intended to prepare promising startups for the main program, for which applications will close on January 15, 2022.
The main program begins in February of 2021 and will offer selected startups up to €65,000 for up to 12% equity. Startups in the main program will be invited to finish the accelerator with a graduation day event in June of 2022, giving them access to regional and international investors.
“I spent many years travelling to Nigeria and a number of other African countries. There was always a sense of excitement in the startup scene, and at Startup Wise Guys we have felt the growth of the African ecosystem in our European programs, with an increased number of applicants from across the continent. Since the early days we have been looking for opportunities to establish programs and serve the ecosystem here,” said Startup Wise Guys’ Global CEO Cristobal Alonso.
“SWG is a business and our bottom line is profit. But at the end of the day, our message is the same wherever we go: our programs empower talented founders to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses. Unicorns are nice, but we preach the path of impact, helping founders find ways to embed their startups locally and scale globally. We couldn’t be more excited to begin this process in such a promising region of the world,” added Alonso.
Founded in Tallinn in 2012, Startup Wise Guys has expanded throughout Europe, focusing on regions that are not yet overrun with venture capital and now Africa. Cristobal Alonso joined SWG as CEO in 2016, with the mandate to expand globally, and programs and offices were established in Ukraine, Italy, Poland, and the Nordics.
Leaning on Alonso’s prior experience as CEO and co-founder of MoboFree, (growing to become one of Africa’s largest mobile social marketplaces), Startup Wise Guys was able to establish a partnership and accelerator program in Namibia earlier this year. The current pan-African digital B2B SaaS accelerator is the result of years of development.
The new accelerator, which launches in February, is looking to empower digital B2B SaaS startups that already have an MVP, some initial customer traction, and at least two founders. Startups may be invited to participate in the pre-acceleration program, beginning October 25, as an additional component of the scouting process.
The selection committee will be looking for promising companies working in FinTech, AgriTech, EdTech, CleanTech, HealthTech, and RetailTech sectors. English-speaking startups from across Africa are encouraged to apply, and the committee will be giving particular focus to Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda for the first batch.
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