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Applications for the WeChat Fund startup programme, aimed at the mobile space, will open today. Applicants will be required to submit a two-minute video for their application.
The R50-million seed fund was announced in December and is aimed at South African startups working in the mobile space. The idea came about after WeChat saw how successful M4JAM, PicUp, and Order In were.
WeChat Africa appointed tech strategy firm Batstone as it’s coordinator for the programme. Its goal is to identify early-stage investment opportunities for tech startups, which will be handled throughout the application process.
When asked about the programme, Alexandra Fraser, partner at Batstone, said it’s not just for mobile startups. “It’s not just applicable for mobile startups, but for any startup that’s trying to really accelerate their growth in a consumer taken space.”
She went on to say, “It also allows startups to integrate into a platform that has already done all of the heavy lifting in terms of payment and wallet functionality, to building and logistics.”
“It really is a quick way to get to a large consumer base and also integrate with technology that has already been proven. The wallet, for instance, is powered by Standard Bank,” Fraser said.
Batsone will be accepting applications until 12 February. Thereafter successful applicants will be notified by 26 February and will be invited to a Batsone-hosted workshop in early March for the final phase of the selection process. Those who are accepted will present to the WeChat investment committee.
“The end goal of the programme is for WeChat to build out an ecosystem of different applications, and in these cases on the WeChat platform so that it’s more than a simple messaging service. That is the ultimate goal,” added Fraser.
As of writing the application portal is yet to open.