88mph partners with Google to boost African tech ecosystem
Africa’s leading tech accelerator 88mph has partnered with technology giant Google in a venture expected to boost the African tech Ecosystem, by providing extended hands-on support for local startups.
Aiming to ‘fill the gaps’ of the nascent start-up ecosystem in Africa, the two have pledged to offer resources to tech entrepreneurs including mentoring, legal and IP advice, and technical workshops, to take what is already “a buzzing community” to the next professional, business-building level.
Speaking to HumanIPO, 88mph’s founder Kresten Buch said a huge opportunity for tech people to come to Africa, create businesses, jobs and make money exists.
“In fact, we would love to see Africans returning to Africa by giving them a landing pad for building their own startups; they can also help boost the local startup talent pool,” he said.
The partnership will see more support channeled to 88mph's accelerator program and tech hub 88mph Garage Nairobi as well as the launching of 88mph in Cape Town later this year.
Plans are already underway to setup operations in West Africa by 2013, expected to render 88mph a Pan-African footprint.
Johanna Kollar, from Google's Startup Support Programs and Ezequiel Vidra, Head of Campus London will join the 88mph Advisory Board. Also in the partnership is an ‘entrepreneur-in-residence' program, which will see 4-6 experienced tech entrepreneurs from around the world work full-time side by side with the startups chosen to join the program.
“We aren't simply copying the Y-Combinator model as we don't believe it is appropriate in an emerging market context. With Google's support, we are able to provide the extra resources necessary to compensate for a less developed angel and mentor network, which characterizes an emerging market,” Nikolai Barnwell, 88mph Program Manager in Nairobi, said.
88mph provides the perfect landing for entrepreneurs with guts and a sense of adventure, says Kresten, they offer office space, a great local network, market knowledge, cash and, "a one way plane ticket."
88mph has also invested in other startups including Tusqee, Ghafla and 6ix Degrees, PesaTalk, Hivi Sasa and Drugs.co.ke. The firm is looking to invest over US$200,000 in more startups before the end of this year. The firm recently launched an accelerator program that will start on September 15 targeted at eight to 15 startups.
Startups can apply at 88mph.ac. Applications are currently open and close on August 15