Recently held in Durban, Digitize Africa has come with a gift for the African Tech scene, Startupbootcamp, has been launched: a  new accelerator program opening in Cape Town. This global industry-focused accelerator group has 18 programs across 13 countries and has seen value in now setting up a footprint in Africa.

The Accelerator will have a 3-month intense programme which is designed to support entrepreneurs scale their industry-changing technology businesses. Startups from around the world are open to apply and be part of the Initiative.

The call for applications is focused on sourcing scalable technology solutions applicable to diversified financial services and related industries. The aim is to grow disruptive startups and connect them with dynamic corporates, providing both with an opportunity to collaborate and build the African tech ecosystem.

The launch of this first Startupbootcamp Cape Town program in Africa comes post a trend analysis that found 161 applications to the global program to have originated from African teams in 2016. Additionally, there were 5 South Africa FastTracks in 2015 and 3 in 2016. To date, Startupbootcamp has invested in 8 teams from Africa in total, 3 of which are in the current InsurTech cohort.

With this new and unique program, Startupbootcamp brings together top startups from around the world, a mentor network of renowned industry experts and entrepreneurs and major players in banking, insurance, consultancy, leasing, and technology as founding partners. From a pool of hundreds of applications, Startupbootcamp Cape Town will select the 10 most promising teams, and will provide each team with EUR 15,000 100+ highly engaged mentors from the FinTech, InsurTech and RegTech industries, free office space, a convertible note, access to funding and a network of industry partners, investors and venture capital firms. The 3-month program will kick off in September 2017.

Zach George, co-MD of the Cape Town program says, “We are thrilled that for the very first time in Africa, a comprehensive integrated program exists to provide corporations across multiple industries the ability to engage directly with innovative technology-focused ventures, establish commercial engagements and explore direct investment opportunities”.

Philip Kiracofe, co-MD of Startupbootcamp Cape Town highlighted:

“The African tech and digital landscape is growing exponentially, and we firmly believe that the future of innovation will come from Africa. Cape Town is one of the most vibrant and creative hubs on the continent and we are both excited and humbled to contribute by attracting global expertise here. “

The accelerator is anchored by strong corporate sponsors that will support and grow the program and selected startups. Global sponsors include Google cloud, Amazon web services, Intel, and Cisco.

Natacha Baumann, the Head of Innovation and Transformation at BNP Paribas Personal Finance for South Africa, the UK, the Nordics, Belgium, and Germany said,

We are engaging in various open innovation initiatives around the world which is part of our transformation strategy. Like RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance is looking for innovative technologies to enhance the customer experience and to improve systems and processes. We are very enthusiastic to start the partnership with Startupbootcamp in Cape Town what answers both our willingness to boost the cooperation with start-ups and will help in leveraging the potential of the African continent”.

Paul Mitchell, Fintech Lead for PwC South Africa said

“We are very excited to be part of Startupbootcamp’s first foray into Africa. Our clients Recognise the disruption potential of Fintechs and other startups, and we are helping many of them to harness the opportunities arising from this. Startupbootcamp provides a great way for the industry incumbents to connect to startups, and to learn about their impact.”

To kick off, startups from all over the world are invited to present their ideas to the Startupbootcamp team at a series of ‘FastTrack’ days between May and July 2017. These FastTracks are being held globally in cities including Accra, Amsterdam, Cairo, Cape Town, programmeDoha, Dubai, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, London, Nairobi, Paris, and Tel Aviv.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, welcomed the accelerator to Cape Town:

“Startupbootcamp’s decision to launch their program in Cape Town speaks to the business confidence they have in the Western Cape. The region has emerged as a centre for venture capital activity in South Africa. The majority of the country’s start-ups are based here and 75% of venture capital deals were concluded in this province.”

The Minister added: “The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is dismantling the barriers to entry in most industries, generating an increase in the number of people who can meaningfully participate in the economy. This is why we have prioritised the support of entrepreneurs in the Western Cape and expanding access to an affordable public internet. Startupbootcamp will play an important role in growing innovative entrepreneurs.”

Interested startups can apply online for Startupbootcamp CapeTown Accelerator Program.

Applications will remain open until July 14th, 2017.

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