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Applications for 2021 Grindstone Accelerator programme now open

The programme is only open to startups from South Africa


Applications for this year’s Grindstone’s accelerator programme are now open. Grindstone Accelerator is an equity-free structured entrepreneurship development programme that assists high-growth innovation-driven SMEs in South Africa to become sustainable and fundable.

The programme is run by venture capital (VC) fund manager Knife Capital, principally funded by SA SME Fund, and backed by primary partners including Thinkroom, Deloitte Digital, and Google for Startups. It is only open to South African startups that are post-revenue with customer traction and at least R500k revenue per annum. They also need to have a dynamic team with a clear competitive differentiator and a scalable business model.

Participating startups are equipped with knowledge, networks, market access opportunities and funding readiness through growth measurement, gap analysis and value-adding interventions for an entire year.

“Grindstone engineers entrepreneurial Growth. This has been our core purpose from when the programme started back in 2014. We continue to build and improve on this model to deliver measurable impact to all our founders and the broader startup ecosystem that includes alumni, advisors, angels & partners. Engineering success is multi-faceted and we have the frontline experience to support founders in their growth journey,” said Grindstone Programme Director, Will Green.

So far the average increase in revenue for Grindstone Accelerator cohorts is 52% during the 1-year programme, with an increase in business efficiency of 30% across functional areas while the majority of Grindstone cohort companies successfully raise significant follow-on funding. There has also been some successful local and international exits.

The programme is tailored towards scaling up high-growth and innovation-driven SMEs is open for 20 South African startups in South Africa.

“Our aim with Grindstone Ventures is to close the much needed pre-Series A, post-seed gap, a currently underfunded stage in South Africa’s startup funding journey. Our secret sauce lies in the relationship we build with Grindstone cohorts from early on in our engagement that enables us to address qualifying funding gaps early. The innovative investment structure helps our founders to think differently about their business models and creates a vested interest in fellow cohort companies.” Catherine Young, Partner of Grindstone and Managing Partner of Grindstone Ventures said.

Applications close at the end of April 2021.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I write about tech, business and African startups. Founder and Editor For TechTrendsKE. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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