Today, Kenyan seed investment fund 88mph launched its accelerator program in Africa, aiming to invest in another 8-15 startups that target the African mobile/web market. 88mph has invested in 7 Kenyan startups since August 2011.
Up to $24k investments
For the upcoming program, startups must apply before August 15th on the website, 88mph.ac. 88mph offers up to a $24k investment in exchange of 6 – 18% equity. Altogether 8 – 15 teams will receive an investment and will get accepted into the 3-month program, starting on September 15th in Nairobi, Kenya.
Local talent and brain gain
The 88mph accelerator program is looking to attract both local and international applicants. Particular focus has been set on attracting talent from the African diaspora.
“Kenyans, and other African nationalities, who are currently working or studying abroad are increasingly looking for an opportunity to return home. These people bring a mix of talent, good education, professionalism, world exposure, and an understanding of local market demands and consumer traits. We hope to offer them an opportunity to return to Africa by providing funding, office, infrastructure and networks in a market with immense opportunity”, says Nikolai Barnwell, program manager at 88mph.
According to Barnwell, entrepreneurs from all parts of the world are urged to apply in order to boost the local startup ecosystem, following the example of Silicon Valley.
“We are eagerly looking to attract entrepreneurs from the US, Europe and other markets, who are interested in the opportunities present in the African mobile/web markets. We really want to push a brain gain and attract skills to help build the local ecosystem. One of the reasons for the success of other tech/investment ecosystems, like Silicon Valley, has been the influx and mix of talent and ideas from across continents and cultures”, Barnwell explains.
88mph Tech Hubs
Funding apart, the accelerator program includes exposure to networks of business and tech professionals. 88mph has opened a 900m2 co-working office in Nairobi and will open a similar setup in Cape Town by late 2012. Startups in the program will have access to these tech hubs in Nairobi and Cape Town, as well as to their partner tech hubs across Africa.
88mph was set up in August 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya to provide seed funding for early-stage mobile/web internet startups targeting the African market. Based on a funding model pioneered by San Francisco-based Y-Combinator, 88mph focuses purely on ideas with a potential to scale across Africa. The 88mph accelerator program is the first of this kind and unique on the continent. 88mph.ac