88mph dangles $200k investment carrot

Kenya-based seed investment company, 88mph is launching Africa’s first accelerator program in Nairobi and will invest a minimum of $200,000 in 8-15 startups by mid September.

88mph, which focuses on startups targeting the East African mobile and web market, says the program is open to local and international tech entrepreneurs.

Last year it invested $180,000 in seven Kenyan firms.

88mph says it will look at startups with ideas that can scale across english speaking Africa, which has a population size larger than the USA, and 50% of the population under 25.

“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,” it said.

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 said.

Kresten Buch, founder of 88mph said: “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.”

“One of the reasons for the success of other tech/ investment ecosystems, like Silicon Valley, has been the influx and mix of talent and ideas from across continents and cultures”, Nikolai Barnwell, program manager at 88mph, pointed out.

Program details:

  • Up to $24k per startup
  •  Deadline August 15, 2012
  • Startups can apply now on 88mph.ac
  • The $24k investment will take a 6-18% equity stake in each startup
  • 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 Sept 5th

Besides funding, the accelerator program includes exposure to 88mph’s mentors & networks of business and tech professionals, like Johanna Kollar, from Startup Support Africa at Google, Larry Modowo, anchor at CNBC Africa, and Ranjith Cherickel, head of services sales, Nokia Siemens Africa.

Startups in the program will have access to tech hubs in Nairobi and Cape Town, as well as to 88mph’s partner tech hubs across Africa, the group said.

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88mph dangles $200k investment carrot