First African FinTech accelerator launched in Cape Town

Startupbootcamp has launched its new Cape Town-based FinTech accelerator. This global industry-focused accelerator group has 18 programmes across 13 countries and has seen value in now setting up a footprint in Africa.

Startups from around the world can apply now to be part of the intense three-month support programme.

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 the accelerator comes post a trend analysis that found 161 applications to the global programme to have originated from African teams in 2016. Additionally, there were five South Africa FastTracks in 2015 and three in 2016. To date, Startupbootcamp has invested in eight teams from Africa in total, three of which are in the current InsurTech cohort.

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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 15 000 euros, 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 programme will kick off in September 2017.

Zach George (pictured), co-MD of the Cape Town programme, says, "We are thrilled that for the very first time in Africa, a comprehensive integrated programme 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 programme and selected startups. Global sponsors include Google cloud, Amazon web services, Intel, and Cisco.

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 recognize 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, Doha, Dubai, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, London, Nairobi, Paris, and Tel Aviv.

Applications will remain open until 14 July 2017.