European startup accelerator and investor Startup Wise Guys has launched a programme that offers investment and coaching for digital, B2B SaaS startups operating in East and West Africa.
Launched in Estonia in 2012, Startup Wise Guys runs acceleration programmes for early-stage B2B SaaS, fintech, cybersecurity and sustainability startups, has made more than 220 investments, and already has two major exits.
In May, it had expanded its programmes to Africa, and it has now opened applications for its new programme focusing on digital, B2B SaaS startups in East and West Africa. The programme, the first ever pan-African, SaaS-focused accelerator, is set to begin in February, and will see startups participate in a five-month programme that will combine online modules with local and international mentors and experts.
A pre-accelerator programme commenced on October 25, which is intended to prepare promising startups for the main program, for which applications close on January 15, 2022. The main programme begins in February of 2021, and will offer selected startups up to EUR65,000 (US$75,000) for up to 12 per cent equity. Startups in the main programme will be invited to finish the accelerator with a graduation day event in June of 2022, giving them access to regional and international investors.
“I spent many years travelling to Nigeria and a number of other African countries. There was always a sense of excitement in the startup scene, and at Startup Wise Guys we have felt the growth of the African ecosystem in our European programmes, with an increased number of applicants from across the continent. Since the early days we have been looking for opportunities to establish programmes and serve the ecosystem here,” said Startup Wise Guys’ Global chief executive officer (CEO) Cristobal Alonso.
“SWG is a business and our bottom line is profit. But at the end of the day, our message is the same wherever we go: our programmes empower talented founders to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses. Unicorns are nice, but we preach the path of impact, helping founders find ways to embed their startups locally and scale globally. We couldn’t be more excited to begin this process in such a promising region of the world.”
The new accelerator, which launches in February, is looking for digital B2B SaaS startups that already have an MVP, some initial customer traction, and at least two founders. The selection committee will be looking for promising companies working in fintech, agri-tech, ed-tech, cleantech, e-health and retail-tech. English-speaking startups from across Africa are encouraged to apply, and the committee will be giving particular focus to Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda for the first batch.