First Week of African Accelerator a Roaring Success

First Week of African Accelerator a Roaring Success

11-Sep-2017 by Rob Spangenberg

After a successful first week, the startups are in store for expert industry insider tips with this week’s theme – Mentor Matching!

Startupbootcamp kicked off their first Africa-based Accelerator last week and Week 2 is set to see mentors, corporates and the startups working and learning together.

“It’s been a blistering first week, somewhat overwhelming for all the startups – initially there was some shock and awe when we put up the 79 days till Demo Day countdown and since then we’ve been in back-to-back classes on all manner of topics,” says Philip Kiracofe, co-MD of Startupbootcamp Cape Town.

The first week saw the startups participate in daily workshops, team-building events, and work sessions as a launch pad to prepare for Demo Day, the culmination of the programme, at which each startup is set to pitch investors and product experts around the world for funding.

“It’s been an amazing week. It’s been action-packed, there’s been a lot. We focused on the basics, the business model canvas and the value proposition, which is really fundamental stuff so it’s a good place to start. There’s been some amazing interactive sessions which has been great and I have to say a really super team, really supportive in every possible way,” shared Nikki Swartz from the startup Yethu.

“They’ve exposed us to a lot of different aspects of business, but also different types of thinking in terms of lean startup methodologies, which has been really interesting,” adds Nick Argyros from the startup GotBot. Argyros continues:

“They gave us fake businesses and we suddenly had to come up with a marketable product and execute it so, for example, yesterday we made an app, which was very cool.”

“We spent most of the week running workshops in the morning,” explains Zachariah George, co-MD of Startupbootcamp Cape Town, continuing: “The startups are full of energy and ready to go. It’s been a combination of a lot of content, a lot of interactive exercises and workshops but we’ve also had a lot of fun. We have a ping pong table and a foosball table and we went on a Red Bus Tour all around the city. It’s been a week of combining business, work, pleasure and fun and it’s only going to get more intense. I’m very happy and I think the startups have gotten a lot of information so far.”

It’s evident that the startups thoroughly enjoyed the first week of the Accelerator, and are looking forward to the next 13 weeks of learning, each of which has a theme. The theme for this week is Mentor Matching.

“This is where we introduce the startups to mentors. Startupbootcamp is a mentor-driven programme and next week we have our speed-dating process where the mentors get to come in and match up one-to-one so each of the startups end up with 3 to 5 extraordinary mentors from some of our sponsors, venture partners, investors and industry experts,”states Kiracofe, “There’s a lot more coursework and content coming and the mentors will help guide the startups on this journey.”

The startups, especially, seem to be exceptionally excited about what lies in store this week.

“Mentoring is one of the big things that we want to get out of this,” agrees Avi Naidoo from the startup FoSho, “Finding people in industries that we want to work in, to talk to, is important. The mentors we want to work with understand us and understand the industry, but they also understand the challenges of the industry. We want those insights of how to bring this lead thinking to an old industry. For example, we do insurance and it has not changed in 400 years. We aren’t changing it, we are improving upon it and the mentors will help us in this regard.”


Rob Spangenberg