Recognising the need for more black owned tech startups in South Africa, the I’M IN accelerator is focusing on providing support to early-stage, growth-driven and black-owned tech companies through education, mentorship and financing.
I’M IN is an IDF Capital initiative and a pre-investment readiness programme for tech startups with an exceptional business concept and who have an early stage market-viable product. The accelerator develops startups from seed stage to the point where they are ready to raise a series A round.
“The I’M IN accelerator seeks to transform South Africa’s ICT sector by funding a pipeline of black-owned, high-growth potential startups,” says Bernard Moshabane, who is the accelerator’s programme director.
The accelerator first launched in 2015, and was inspired by the book of the same name published in 2015, and written by the members of the South African version of Dragons’ Den, as an investment readiness guide for entrepreneurs looking to raise funding, explains Moshabane.
“The accelerator enables startups to test their assumptions and validate their products in the market, commercialising startups that show real market potential”
In 2016, I’M IN restructured to focus exclusively on black-owned tech startups. The programme has two previous cohorts.
We speak to Moshabane about the role accelerators have in strengthening the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and 3 exciting tech startups from their latest programme.
Q: What is the goal of the accelerator?
To provide opportunities to technically apt entrepreneurs with limited access to resources.
I’M IN partners with entrepreneurs with viable application technologies by providing seed funding through early stage equity deals in conjunction with business development support and one-on-one mentorship from industry specialists.
The accelerator enables startups to test their assumptions and validate their products in the market.
Q: How are the startups chosen for the programme?
The entrepreneurs fill in an online application on the I’M IN accelerator’s website and eligible candidates are invited for a demo day to present to our investment committee. Successful candidates are then selected for the 3-month accelerator.
Q: What does the programme entail?
The accelerator provides seed funding for startups to test their technologies in the market with the goal to achieve product-market fit and to pivot their technology over the course of the programme.
The accelerator does this by providing business development services to our startups including product development support, marketing and talent management through our team of specialist mentors.
Q: What funding opportunities are available for each of the startups?
I’M IN identifies startups for seed funding opportunities provided by our partners. Startups that make it into the accelerator can raise a seed round of up to R1 000 000.
Q: Who are the various stakeholders involved, and what are their roles in the incubator?
I’M IN is the proprietary of IDF Capital and has multiple corporate partners, including Telkom’s Futuremakers programme as well as the global legal firm Allen & Overy.
Q: What is the next step for the startups after going through the programme?
Startups who graduate from the accelerator have access to strong networks and distribution channels through our corporate partners to further commercialise their technologies.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about the startups that are part of the latest programme?
– Khathutshelo Mufamaddi (30) – Droppa App
Droppa is an on-demand transport service that makes it easier and safer to transport household goods.
– Jasmine Adam (36) – CAP H
CAP H is a web/mobile HR application for SMEs simplifying and automating key HR processes.
– Sibonelo Nkosi (28) – Airbuy
They enable consumers to pay using airtime instead of credit or debit cards.
This article is been updated to reflect that the I’M IN accelerator offers seed funding of up to R1 000 000.