14.06.2021 - Startups

Startup accelerator Startup Wise Guys expands to Africa

With more than 220 investments in early-stage startups, Startup Wise Guys is one of the most active investors in Europe and Latvia. Now, it is expanding its programs to Africa. 

According to the African Development Bank, 22% of Africa’s working-age population are starting businesses, the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world. Africa recently added many unicorns, and in October, Stripe acquired Nigerian fintech startup Paystack for $200 million, its biggest acquisition to date. Despite the pandemic, the year 2020 saw a record amount of funding go to an all-time high number of startups. However, investment and startup support in Africa is uneven, and many regions remain underserved.

Startup Wise Guys has a long history of transforming technically savvy founders into successful startup entrepreneurs. Cristobal Alonso, Startup Wise Guys’ Global CEO who will focus on best practices for pitching, is bringing with him a team that has led several portfolio startups to success, such as StepShot, acquired by UiPath in 2019. 

“The pandemic forced us to go digital with our programs, and we saw an incredible number of African startups interested in joining our programs remotely. Africa had been on our radar for some time, but distance and logistics made it difficult. Alongside our partners, we are now able to offer on-the-ground startup acceleration, supported and led through digital platforms. Our focus is on African countries where our capacity-building expertise for early-stage startups will make the biggest impact,” said Cristobal Alonso, Global CEO at Startup Wise Guys.

The accelerator has a program currently underway in Namibia, organized jointly with StartUp Namibia and Key2Investors, and will bring an additional four programs to the continent by 2022, with a particular focus on East and West Africa, regions where innovation is growing and where ecosystem capacity building can make the most meaningful impactful.

“We’re proud to be kicking off our partnership with Startup Wise Guys in Africa with a program that will enrich the Namibian startup ecosystem. We hope to make a significant impact for all the founders involved and for this to become a blueprint of a model for future programs in Namibia, Africa, and beyond,” said Petra Wolkenstein, founder of Key2Investors.

Startup Wise Guys’ accelerator program in Namibia represents the country’s first experience with a specialist, international startup accelerator. The three-month-long program, which concludes in June, is currently supporting 24 selected local startup founders, with an emphasis on raising investment and the fundamentals of leading a venture-backed business. StartUp Namibia, which launched in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic, is on a mission to grow Namibia’s startup ecosystem and has already run several programs focused on broad-based training.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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