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Katapult Accelerator planning launch of African hub, programme this year

Oslo-based Katapult Accelerator plans to launch an African hub and accelerator programme in the second half of the year, so says co-founder and managing partner Haakon Brunell.

The Norwegian accelerator works with startups that use exponential technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain to solve environmental and societal problems.

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Startups selected to take part in the accelerator’s three-month programme receive $150 000 investment, in exchange for eight percent equity.

In a Skype call with Ventureburn last Thursday (14 March), Brunell said the accelerator is aiming to establish a physical office on the continent in the second half of this year.

Brunell said the number of African applicants to Katapult Accelerator is increasing every year

Brunell could not disclose where exactly the office will be, beyond the fact that Katapult Accelerator was considering setting up a hub in East or West Africa.

When asked if the African programme would take on the same structure as the Oslo accelerator, he said Katapult was “still in the process of finalising the plan” and that the accelerator is currently looking for local partners.

Brunell said the accelerator had received over 1000 applications from African entrepreneurs across four cohorts, adding that the number of African applicants is “increasing every year”.

He further explained that with regards to number of applications, Africa was the “second biggest continent” after the EU.

Brunell said African startups are likely to benefit more if they are accelerated in their home markets because of factors like local market knowledge. “For some companies it makes more sense to be accelerated closer to their core markets,” he pointed out.

Last year, Katapult Accelerator selected three African startups from Kenya, Egypt and Tunisia to join its third cohort, comprised of 12 startups from around the world. The three are Kenyan banking solution FinAccess, Egyptian edtech PraxiLabs and Tunisian tech talent accelerator Think.iT.

Read more: Three African startups make it into Katapult Accelerator’s third cohort

Featured image: Haakon Esrød Brunell via Facebook

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