Founder Institute confirms Microsoft partnership for African chapter launch


If you’ve been reading Ventureburn, you knew it was coming. Founder Institute, the mega incubator from Silicon Valley with a presence in over 50 countries, is now ready to launch in Johannesburg. Microsoft BizSpark has stepped up to provide Founder Institute participants fully subsidised course fees to the entrepreneur training programme.

Through the partnership, promising South African entrepreneurs can take part in the programme at no cost — the course is usually priced at US$950. Microsoft BizSpark further boosts the programme by bringing additional technology, support, visibility, and community to the table. BizSpark, which supports over 45 000 startups from 100 countries, has partnered with 2 300 organisations — including a bunch in South Africa — to support entrepreneurship.

“Johannesburg is the Founder Institute’s first African chapter, and we are grateful to have such great support from Microsoft BizSpark,” says Adeo Ressi, Founder & CEO of the Founder Institute. “The barriers to entry for startups everywhere are decreasing, and we are confident that this partnership will help us develop and train the next batch of great South African entrepreneurs.”

The Founder Institute is a 4-month, part-time accelerator program, where aspiring company founders can receive training, feedback and support to launch a tech venture — without quitting their day job. The Founder Institute has launched over 800 companies across six continents in its four years of operation.

The last time we checked in with the duo who leads the Founder Institute’s Johannesburg chapter, Keith Jones (Director, Bowside) and Odette Jones (Director, Xanadu Properties), only one mentor had been confirmed. Today, many more have hopped aboard.

They include:

  • Adeo Ressi, CEO,
  • Alan Burger, CEO/Founder, Infoslips
  • Anthony Stonefield, Managing Director, Africa, Gramercy Venture Advisors
  • Christoph Sollich, The Pitch Doctor, Startup Consultant
  • Elton Bondi, Director/Founder, The Cyest Corporation
  • Gareth Ochse, Founder,
  • Geoff Garrett, CEO, SalesRehab Pty Ltd
  • Jonathan Crisp, CEO, IDI Technology Holdings
  • Justin Spratt, CEO , Quirk
  • Rob Sussman, Joint CEO/Founder, Integr8 IT Group and Zunguz
  • Warren Van Wyk, Director/Founder, Payspace

If you are passionate about starting a technology company in Johannesburg, apply to the Founder Institute programme before Sunday, 28 July — “the sooner you apply, the better chance you have of acceptance”, says Jones.

Founder Institute is also testing a programme launch in Cape Town.

To get a better idea of what it’s all about, check out this video.



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