88mph, an early stage startup fund and 3 month accelerator program has opened applications for Nairobi. The program assists start-ups by giving them investment of up to a 100k, access to business networks and the know how to quickly grow their businesses. 88mph’s strategy in Africa is to fund strong teams and web-mobile ideas that have the ability to scale across English speaking Africa.
“There’s an immense opportunity to build mobile/web startups in Nairobi right now. African Mobile/web is hands down one of the fastest growing markets in the world and we want to reach out to entrepreneurs who build products and services for hundreds of million mobile/web users that are rapidly popping up on the continent,” says 88mph Program Director Nikolai Barnwell.
Barnwell continues,“Unfortunately, the natural course of a startup is to die before succeeding. But we provide the funding and the infrastructure to boost the odds of survival and we now want to look for the next batch of future successful entrepreneurs.”
That’s why, in addition to funding, the 88mph team in Nairobi has put together talent and resources, to add more value for the startups:
A partnership with Google has enabled the right space and internet resources to build tech companies, as well as access to Google’s experienced web professionals who can mentor the startups.
A host of highly experienced local Kenyans and global mentors have been added to the already top-notch 88mph mentor network.
Furthermore, “Entrepreneurs-in-residence” – experienced entrepreneurs, specialized in sales, programming & web design – are being brought in from across the world to work side by side with the local startups during the 3-month acceleration.
Finally, 88mph arranges a demo day, where the startups will get access to a group of investors and showcase what they’ve achieved so far.
Last year 88mph invested in 6 web-mobile startups in Nairobi. The 3-month program to accelerate the growth of the startups in Nairobi last year has reaped great rewards for the start-ups, with one startup with confirmed follow on funding and another two that are in final discussions. This will allow them to be able to scale their businesses across Africa successfully.
‘I’ve seen a wealth of talent infused in Nairobi within the past couple of years,” says Carey Eaton, co-Founder, One Africa Media and CEO, Cheki Africa Media.”88mph and the ecosystem brewing here are making a very significant contribution to building technology companies in the region to another level, building the next great wave of web and mobile businesses that solve African problems. I’m looking forward to following these startups closely throughout the program.”
The speed at which the mobile internet has reached the markets of Africa, now at 274 million Africans on Edge or 3G, has created a huge demand for local applications and services catering to the young and growing middle classes of Africa. 88mph is here to fund start-ups wishing to grab a portion of this growing market. So far, they have invested over $750,000 into 23 early stage start-ups.
The combination of a large market, young population and opportunities within the mobile/web industry makes this accelerator attractive to any tech entrepreneurs who are looking to solve real challenges in Africa.
“Looking 2-5 years ahead, the US and Europe will be stagnating at best. I think the biggest opportunities for return on investment will be in Africa and other emerging markets. Our accelerator program is a great opportunity for international tech entrepreneurs and returning diaspora to come, take advantage of the insane growth here, and work on solving some really interesting problems,” concludes Barnwell.
• Application deadline is midnight July 15th, 2013
• Startups can apply now on 88mph.ac
• 88mph invests up to $100k per startup
• Equity will depend on the startup company valuations, which could range from $100k to $1mil
• Altogether 8 – 15 teams will receive an investment and get accepted into the 3-month program
• The teams will be notiﬁed if they have been accepted to the program by August 1st, 2013
• Program starts on August 26th at the 88mph Garage in Narobi, Kenya
• Startups in the program will have access to tech hubs in Cape Town, as well as to 88mph’s partner tech hubs across Africa
The team behind 88mph first came to Kenya in 2010 when they set up a 48-hour investment boot camp; this event resulted in an investment in M-Farm, an SMS service that helped small farmers get access to the market price of their crops. Since then, 88mph has added 15 startups to its portfolio, all mobile-web based businesses.
This last round in Nairobi included a mobile music startup, Mdundo, and an airtime credit startup, Movas, All the startups from this time around are generating revenues.
88mph is a privately backed fund.