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SA accelerator for black startups I’M IN tight-lipped on selection of first cohort [updated]

I’M IN — a new South African accelerator programme run by IDF Capital and aimed at black tech startups is preparing to get under way, but organisers remain tight-lipped on how many startups have been selected and on releasing the names of those selected.

While Bernard Moshabane, the programme director at I’M IN Accelerator, said the programme opened a public call for applications earlier on in the year, he would not divulge any information about the programme.

While a story earlier this month by local website SME South Africa mentions that three startups have been selected to join the programme’s first cohort, Moshabane did not want to confirm the number.

He was however able to confirm that the accelerator is busy finalising milestones and term sheets which would be ready by the end of this month.

‘I’M IN Accelerator will offer seed funding of up to R1-million and take equity stake in participating startups’

The startups mentioned by news website SME South Africa include on-demand delivery application Droppa, a startup that has developed a fintech platform which allows users to buy online using airtime and another company that has an online application that automates human resources functions for small businesses.

Droppa founder Khathutshelo Mufamadi was told by an official at the accelerator that the programme would likely start next month. The officials informed him that the programme would entail acceleration and seed funding of up to R1-million in an equity agreement.

In addition Njabulo Makhathini, one of the founders of the fintech platform, told Ventureburn that so far he had attended pitch sessions.

According to its website, I’M IN Accelerator accelerates tech startups that have workable applications by providing them with seed funding, business development support and mentorship from industry experts.

To qualify for the accelerator startups have to be 51% black-owned and must have a demonstrable proof of concept. Additionally, participants within the first phase of the programme are required to attend all sessions with venture partners.

Approached for comment IDF Capital’s Simbisai Chizhande would not respond to Ventureburn’s request for information on the accelerator, saying the organisation still needed to put in place a media strategy on the programme before it would respond.

Featured image: WOCinTech Chat via Flickr (CC 2.0 license BY-SA, resized)

*UPDATE 18/08/2017 Editor’s note: IDF Capital CEO Polo Radebe told Ventureburn today that an initial number of 25 selected companies has been whittled down to nine companies and that likely six or seven companies would be selected for the programme. The final selection would likely be finalised in the course of next week, Radebe said.

She added that the accelerator would offer seed funding of a minimum of R150 000 to each participant chosen. The first round of funding would likely average at R160 000 per participant, while the second round of funding is expected to be at an average of R700 000 per participant. 

IDF aims to hold three cohorts of the programme per year, she said, adding that the seed funding is drawn from the enterprise development contributions of SA corporates, as under the BEE codes.

Radebe said the names of those corporates involved in funding the programme would be revealed at a later stage. She would not say what amount the IDF had been able to source from corporates in total to fund participants in the first cohort.