Empowering African Enterprises

Accelerate Africa, a new accelerator program designed to elevate early-stage African startups, has unveiled its inaugural cohort. After four months of preparation, this program aims to establish itself as Africa’s equivalent to the globally renowned Y Combinator.

Visionaries Behind the Initiative

The accelerator is spearheaded by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, founder of the Pan-African venture capital firm Future Africa, and Mia von Koschitzky-Kimani, a general partner. Their goal is to tailor an accelerator program specifically to address the unique challenges and opportunities within the African startup ecosystem.

Origin and Evolution

Initially, their efforts focused on pre-accelerator programs designed to prepare founders for participation in prominent accelerators like Y Combinator and Techstars. However, recognizing the need for a more specialized approach, they launched Accelerate Africa to directly support the continent’s burgeoning entrepreneurial landscape.

Diverse and Innovative First Cohort

The first cohort features ten startups from across Africa, including six from Nigeria, two from Kenya, one from Egypt, and one from Eswatini. These startups operate in critical sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI), clean technology (cleantech), property technology (proptech), health technology (healthtech), automotive technology (autotech), human resources technology (HRTech), logistics, and financial technology (fintech).

Highlights of the First Cohort

  1. Afriskaut (Nigeria): Utilizes AI and data technology to identify top sports talent in Africa.
  2. Agrails (Kenya): A cleantech firm leveraging AI to create data systems for managing climate risks and opportunities.
  3. Campus HQ (Nigeria): A proptech startup simplifying workspace discovery and management, akin to “Airbnb for workspaces.”
  4. CDIAL (Nigeria): Develops conversational AI fluent in African languages.
  5. Checkups (Kenya): Provides affordable healthcare to underserved communities via micropayment options.
  6. Flickwheel (Nigeria): Offers on-demand auto repair credits, vetted technicians, and automated repair tracking.
  7. Juiceme (Eswatini): Enables blue-collar workers to access earned wages via WhatsApp before payday.
  8. Messenger (Nigeria): Empowers delivery drivers to become entrepreneurs, providing income and vehicle ownership opportunities.
  9. PipeOps (Nigeria): A DevOps provider offering tools and services for cloud-based applications.
  10. Settle (Egypt): Automates B2B payments, streamlining transactions for businesses.

Culmination and Investment Prospects

Demo Day and Investment Plans

The program will culminate in a demo day at the Lagos Marriott Hotel, where potential pre-seed or seed investments for the participating startups will be considered. Angel investors and venture capitalists are expected to invest amounts ranging from $250,000 to $500,000.

Shaping the Future of African Startups

Mission and Impact

Accelerate Africa’s mission is to empower these ventures and foster a thriving future for African businesses. By supporting a diverse range of innovative startups, the accelerator aims to create a robust ecosystem that can drive economic growth and technological advancement across the continent.