Investors increasing speed to exactly 88mph: How Google is taking entrepreneurship forward in Cape Town, South Africa and Africa.
Many of you will know who 88mph is, and for those who don’t, it doesn’t refer to the speed of bikers in a recent article I wrote on News24. Nor does it mean the WordPress development company at 88mph.com. In a move that was applauded from Cairo to Cape Town, 88mph, a top African start-up incubator, has merged forces with Google (Umbono) and created a fantastic space for entrepreneurial investment and lab-type assistance. Their opening launch party happened on Wednesday in offices which are almost finished and already stylish, situated at 66 Albert Road, Woodstock.
The event was all about what they revolve around: tech start-ups. Kicking off with a few short presentations from Johanna Kollar and Kresten Buch on how they plan to invest, 88mph and Google showed investors how the ecosystem in South Africa has more than enough deal flow, and in turn showed entrepreneurs that a stint on the 4th floor will give you the kick your idea needs. While craft beer and ice tea flowed freely and pizzas were scoffed in seconds, 8 teams pitched for a chance at winning techware and a place on the 4th floor.
In short, founders and entrepreneurs can expect the following if they pitch and make it into the program:
– $6k per founder, up to $24k for 6-18% equity (you do the maths)
– Free access to 88mph pan-african tech hubs (dotted around Africa)
– 88mph mentor network (filled with very experienced folk and numerous Googlers)
Simply put, if you make it in, you get funding, a space in which to work and a wealth of expertise and information – all critical to making your idea get through some of the toughest phases of launching. Some people at the launch event told me that $6K per founder for 6-18% share is not enough, but I disagree – if your idea needs more than that, 88mph is simply not for you and vice versa.
Pitches were delivered at the event in shots of 5 minutes each, and some interesting ideas and start-ups popped to the fore. The eventual winners were an app that helps calculate bill totals (and more!) and a mobile campaign manager took the top spot, as well as Dream Mobile (www.dreammobile.co.za). A mention from the organizers was that one of the investors was interested in investing in one of these already!
So, entrepreneurs, get on down to the sign up page and give your start-up the chance to enter a world of difference to the success of your idea. About the author: Jess Green is a digital entrepreneur, passionate about tech, web and mobile. Follow him on @jessello.