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Cape Town based venture capital firm Knife Capital today announced the 12 companies that will make up the fourth cohort of its Grindstone Accelerator programme. They include an online shopping assistant, a smart security platform and an insurtech company.
The year-long programme — which kicked off on 29 October — aims to help innovative SA companies to become investable, sustainable and exit-ready.
Knife Capital partner Keet van Zyl explained that the announcement of the cohort had been delayed until this week because Knife Capital has been busy closing two deals (one which is still to be announced) and because Knife didn’t “want the story to get lost in the GEW Startup Story clutter (over) the last two weeks”.
The year-long Grindstone Accelerator programme aims to help participants become investable, sustainable and exit-ready
The 12 scale-up businesses selected for Grindstone’s fourth cohort are:
Allxs: Allxs is an NFC (near-field communication) enabled closed-loop cashless payments and experience management platform which aims to improve speed, safety and convenience for an enhanced customer experience.
Cradle Technology Services: Cradle Technology Services’ Granite Warehouse Management System (WMS) is an affordable WMS solution which enables customers to take control of their warehousing and dramatically improves accuracy.
Ctrl: Ctrl is a digital short-term insurance broker platform that allows for effortless business-to-customer (B2C) engagement via a single advice app.
Digger App: The Digger App is an industry specific online recruitment matching platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to enable employers to recruit better candidates, faster.
Kudos Africa: Kudos Africa is an environmental, social and governance (ESG) assessment tool that provides companies with simple, affordable and valuable access to sustainability metrics, while providing investors with an efficient way to meet reporting criteria.
OneCart: Once Cart is an online personal shopping assistant for household goods. It works through an on-demand technology platform that connects multiple fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) retailers to consumers.
Old School Group: This multi-brand sports group specialises in festivals, live events, travel, sportswear, sponsorship, brand creation and all-round sport commercialisation.
Sentian: Sentian is a smart security platform that makes existing alarm systems more intelligent, enabling video verifications and powerful control over users’ homes.
Sparkfolios: This online toolkit drives repeat peak performance via professional services for goal setting, task completion, performance and incentive management, motivation, instant rewards and staff recognition.
Suritec: Suritec is a data solutions company specialising in data analytics, content management, location intelligence, systems integration and consulting for government and commercial customers.
Sxuirrel: This peer-to-peer marketplace enables users to find and share extra space (storage, parking and venues) via an easy-to-use online platform.
Vizibiliti Insight Africa: Vizibiliti Insight Africa is addressing financial inclusion by developing alternative credit scoring methods for the financial service industry via AI.
‘56% increase in revenue year-on-year’
In a statement earlier today (20 November), Knife Capital said over the previous three cohorts of the programme, the accelerator has helped participants to achieve an average year-on-year increase in revenue of 56%.
Knife Capital investment partner Andrea Bohmert said the programme aims to get participants to achieve measurable growth and build a foundation that can handle both challenges and opportunities.
“It is about being prepared, as interesting things happen to companies that are ready and able to act on short notice,” she added.
The 12 companies selected for the fourth cohort of the programme will be taken through “an intensive review” of their strategies to provide them with the insights and tools to build a foundation for growth.
“We initially set out to find 10 small businesses to partner with, but the exciting and diverse range of the opportunities presented, combined with corporate partnerships reached, enabled us to open the programme up a bit wider,” said Bohmert.
Plans to open Joburg programme
She added that each of the 12 companies find themselves currently at “a tipping point” in their business, finding that they have many strategic options to pursue. “During Grindstone the entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to validate their growth assumptions and check these against the company’s ability to execute,” she said.
Grindstone collaborates with other top incubation and acceleration programmes in the market to augment the learning experience and continue the growth journey. Knife Capital said it is currently in partnership discussions to launch a Johannesburg-based Grindstone Programme next year.
This year Grindstone is partnering with organisations that include: FNB, Webber Wentzel, Creative CFO, Thinkroom Consulting, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft 4Afrika, M&C Saatchi Connect, GMG Technology, Matchboxology and Billybo Group.