The e-commerce industry in South Africa has experienced a boom since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — and Black Friday was no exception….
“Switzerland is a perfect destination to work on solving problems that are relevant to a multi-lingual area like Western Europe,” says Malcom Gray, the founder of SA legaltech startup Libryo.
“With four official languages, a high concentration of global businesses and easy access to Germany, France and Italy, we feel the programme has given us a wonderful stepping stone into new markets,” Gray (pictured above, centre) told Ventureburn in an email.
The startup — which is based in the UK but was started by three SA founders — has just secured a partnership with a Zurich-based regtech startup Apiax.
The announcement was made by Swiss tech initiative Kickstart Accelerator last week. Libryo was a participant in this year’s cohort which concluded earlier this month.
The startup was one of more than 30 proof of concepts and partnerships that were secured during the programme by participants.
Gray said the startup will be working with Apiax in a joint project that will “help push the legaltech space forward”. “Details will be disclosed in due course based on further refinement of our selected area of focus,” he added.
The accelerator programme gave the startup, which is planning on expanding into Europe in the next three to nine months, “wonderful exposure to a new culture and network”, he said.
Libryo is planning on launching in Europe in the next three to nine months
He also said that the high quality of mentors, experts, founders, and global partners working with the programme added value. Gray said Libryo’s mentor, Jürg Stuker, had significant experience in the tech space and the Swiss market.
“He proved to be not only a wonderful sounding board and very helpful in understanding the culture nuances, but was able to provide good introductions to people and businesses relevant to us,” he said. “We met with some very valuable long term partners through this,” he added.
The co-founder said the startup is also looking into a number of other possible proof of concepts or partnerships.
‘Programme a big commitment’
He advised other startups looking to apply to join the accelerator that doing so would be “a big commitment”. He urged interested applicants to think about what their objectives are and why they want to be in the Kickstart programme.
“Prepare your argument simply and coherently and be clear about your business and why you believe you will win. If you get through, do as much work ahead of time scoping possible partnerships, this will expedite the conversations. Corporates move slower than startups,” he said.
He added that its important to be clear how you intend to work with the various global partners as well as to take time to review the selected mentors.
“They are good, but choose the right one for you. Our efforts here paid off,” he said.
Gray also urged participants to take the time to know other startups in the cohorts. “You will learn and lot and be surprised by what other business opportunities as well as long term friendship could emerge,” he added.
The 2017 cohort saw 29 startups, including another African startup Farmerline, and two intrepreneur teams collaborate for 11 weeks. The programme focused on edtech, healthtech, fintech, food, smart cities, and robotic and intelligent systems.
Featured image (from left to right): Libryo founding team Garth Watson, Malcolm Gray and Peter Flynn (Supplied)