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Startupbootcamp to kick off global FastTrack World Tour in Cape Town

Innovation accelerator Startupbootcamp Cape Town will kick off the 2018 Startupbootcamp (SBC) FastTrack World Tour in Cape Town on 19 February and has opened applications to join the event.

The global accelerator conducts the annual tours as a way to scout for top-tier startups from around the world. During the informal events, SBC teams, mentors and sponsors meet early-stage companies interested in joining the accelerator’s 2018 programme.

The FastTrack world tour, comprised of 19 FastTracks, will be held between February and May.

Startups that attend a FastTrack World Tour event have a 20% likelihood of getting invited to the final selection day

The Cape Town FastTrack World Tour news follows last year’s launch of SBC’s first-ever Africa-based programme, Startupbootcamp Cape Town.

“To sign 32 agreements is above average for any Startupbootcamp programme in the network. However, when compared to other first-time programmes, SBC Cape Town is the top performing programme,” Startupbootcamp Cape Town co-founder and CEO Philip Kiracofe said in a statement yesterday.

“Even in very mature markets such as the US and Europe, it generally takes three years for a programme to find its stride. We surpassed expectations in our very first year and this is unprecedented across the global Startupbootcamp footprint,” added Kiracofe.

He said SBC Cape Town sees Africa “as the Cradle of Innovation and the Cradle of Disruption”.

“The non-negotiable, incontrovertible trend is that the population is increasing and as a fundamental necessity for survival, innovation must happen. Innovation will happen. The fact is that there is going to be a level of disruption in Africa that is unrivaled in history. There is no other place on the planet where they’ve dealt with this crisis, that we see as an opportunity,” he said.

“It is happening here and will continue to happen here for the rest of the century and we are not just discovering and scaling the startups that will disrupt the necessary industries, we’re fuelling them. We’re finding people, creating solutions and we’re way ahead of the rest of the world in many ways,” he added.

“For example, in the US, people are still cottoning on to digital cash, while Africa has been doing it for years,” he stated.

The Cape Town FastTrack event will be held at RCS’s head office.

“RCS and BNP Paribas Personal Finance are delighted to be a main sponsor of the 2018 Startupbootcamp programme. This will be our second year sponsoring the programme,” said RCS CEO Regan Adams.

“There was an impressive line-up of startups that joined the programme in 2017 and our company has subsequently joined forces with a selected few to improve and enhance our customer engagement. Customer-centricity and digital transformation will remain key focus areas for our business in 2018,” added Adams.

How FastTracks work

During a FastTrack, the top 10 selected startups will get the opportunity to pitch to and receive instant feedback from a panel of industry mentors. In addition, they will be able to network with the SBC investment team and also learn more about the programme itself.

Attendance to FastTrack events also exposes startups to industry executives and other opportunities.

According to the accelerator, startups that attend a FastTrack are 20% more likely to be invited to the final selection day. This is where the top 10 will be invited to join the three-month accelerator programme which will start in September in Cape Town.

“We want every startup to know that even if you don’t make it into the final accelerator, our FastTrack events can provide incredible guidance and mentorship and can fundamentally shift a growing business,” advised SBC Cape Town co-founder and chief investment officer Zachariah George.

Who should apply

FastTrack event applications are open to startups operating in fintech, cybersecurity, insurtech, ecommerce, and retailtech among other industries.

However, SBC Cape Town is particularly looking for startups in the following areas;

  • Blockchain and distributed ledger
  • Payment solutions
  • Big data and analytics
  • Data and behavioural analytics
  • Insurance and cyber insurance
  • Financial inclusion
  • Commerce and ecommerce
  • Identity and authentication
  • Payments
  • Personal finance management
  • Internet of Things
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • Cross-border transactions

How to apply

Want to be one of 10 startups invited to attend a FastTrack? You can apply here. Applications for each event close three days before it will be held.

Applying to Startupbootcamp Cape Town

While applications to FastTrack events are now open, those for SBC Cape Town’s accelerator programme will open on 21 February and close on 24 May.

Thereafter, 10 startups will be selected to join the programme whose sponsors include PwC, Nedbank, Woolworths Financial Services and Old Mutual.

Programme participants will be provided with €15 000, free office space, access to funding and a network of industry partners, investors and venture capital firms.

Ventureburn is a Startupbootcamp Cape Town media partner