Accelerator 88mph hopes to find next big mobile-web entrepreneur in Nairobi

There’s no rest for the weary with startup accelerator 88mph. Right off the bat of closing its 2013 Cape Town incubation programme, the accelerator is moving to Kenya for its Nairobi leg, and applications are now open.

The three-month programme gives winning applicants up to an US$100 000 investment, as well as access to business networks to quickly grow their business ideas into fully realised marketable and scalable companies.

88mph’s strategy has been, and will be for the foreseeable future, on web and mobile ideas that can scale across English-speaking Africa.

“There’s an immense opportunity to build mobile/web startups in Nairobi right now. African mobile/web is hands down one of the fastest growing markets in the world and we want to reach out to entrepreneurs who build products and services for hundreds of million mobile/web users that are rapidly popping up on the continent,” says 88mph Program Director Nikolai Barnwell.

Barnwell recognises the tough road to creating a successful startup, and that many fail trying to do so, and that’s where the 88mph programme can help, “… we provide the funding and infrastructure to boost the odds of survival and we now want to look for the next batch of future successful entrepreneurs.”

With this in mind, funding is but a part of what 88mph offers the startups in exchange for equity in their young companies. Other value drivers are:

  • a Google partnership that provides internet resources and access to experienced Google web professionals who can provide mentorship
  • access to experienced local Kenyan and global mentors
  • “Entrepreneurs-in-residence” – experienced entrepreneurs, specialized in sales, programming and web design – who are brought in from around the world to work with the startups during the 3-month acceleration
  • the Demo Day – where the startups get a chance to impress a group of investors and showcase their company in a pitch-format

Last year’s Nairobi leg saw six mobile-web startups receive investment, and one startup confirm follow-on funding with another two in final discussions, potentially helping them scale across Africa successfully.

88mph’s focus is on Africa’s growing middle classes and its young population, combined with the opportunities within the mobile-web industry. This makes the accelerator appealing to any tech entrepreneur looking to solve real challenges in Africa.

“Looking 2.5 years ahead, the US and Europe will be stagnating at best. I think the biggest opportunities for return on investment will be in Africa and other emerging markets. Our accelerator program is a great opportunity for international tech entrepreneurs and returning diaspora to come, take advantage of the insane growth here, and work on solving some really interesting problems,” concludes Barnwell.

Eight to 15 startups will begin the programme on 26 August and anyone interested can apply here.

Application deadline is midnight, 15 July.



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