Participants in the second programme starting September 1 at the Seed Engine accelerator will receive R100 000 start up capital plus over R300 000 in services so that they can convert their ideas into commercial realities, ready to attract further investment at demo day and beyond.
Absa have joined Seed Engine for the next programme contributing operating capital. They have also sponsored trips to both Stellenbosch and the United Kingdom, geared towards enhancing skills and promoting start up trade relations with international stakeholders including entrepreneurs, corporates and potential investors. This partnership includes the University of Stellenbosch, CEDAR, Vumali and EDFM.
Strategic partnerships are in place with both local and international early stage venture capital firms. Amongst these are Grovest, the first Section 12J fund in South Africa, and U-Start, which is an international organisation that seeks investments via Seed Engine.
Seed Engine is also on steroids.
The South African Venture Capital Association (SAVCA) has endorsed it as one of the more prominent feeders of deal flow to the strong venture capital community in the country and Werksmans Attorneys has joined to assist Seed Engine and its start ups with legal documentation, compliance and advice.
Seed Engine has also closed partnership with The Sable Accelerator, based in Silicon Valley has built a strong relationship with Seed Engine in profiling its underlying ventures with its international network of venture capitalists, angel investors and distribution partners.
Amazon Web Services have committed $3000 worth of data driven products for each Seed Engine start up.
PKF, one of the largest accounting and auditing companies in the world, offer the ventures financial planning, first year audits and general guidance and Microsoft has shown their support by providing Bizspark packages and naming Seed Engine one of the key network partners in the South African context.
According to Marc Elias, CEO of the Seed Engine Business Accelerator,“Seed Engine looks for five pillars which point to likely success for a start up. A product or service that is novel or innovative. An opportunity – a disruptive response to a market change or the creation of a new market. A business model that is tested and validated. A team that has the skills to execute. A market – an understanding of your target market’s requirements and the market’s prospects and limitations.”
Seed Engine, which ran its first programme this year, added six start ups to its portfolio. All ventures are currently in advanced negotiations with next round funding from investors.
Elias added, “We are looking for entrants for our next programme – early stage tech entrepreneurs who have extraordinary ideas with international appeal and who are ready for a life-changing journey.” Entrepreneurs selected for the programme are offered coaching, mentoring, work space and an opportunity to grow their concept into a business.
Mark Karimov of Cirqls.com, one of the ventures in Seed Engines first class said, “The boot camp was very powerful – we were pushed. There’s a tremendous difference doing something on your own and what is possible working with the Seed Engine team which helps turn the obstacles we face into opportunities. “
Agreeing to Karimov’s point, Robin Bayhack of Zehoo.me added, “Seed Engine offers a creative, open environment where ideas are developed into reality in the fastest time. Our mentors who intensely understand technology and our personal circumstances make a considerable difference.”
Potential investors are encouraged to get involved in anticipation of a bigger and better programme and demo day which will be held in November 2013. These investors will likely include angel investors (individuals and clubs), early stage venture capital companies, family offices, private equity companies as well as corporates – either as a strategic investment or deployment of their enterprise development funding strategies.
“Demo days provide investors with an opportunity to get involved in high growth start ups at a very early stage. The Seed Engine programme has been developed to cater for these investors needs, advancing each venture to states of investor and growth readiness. 85% of the ventures going through the top tier accelerators in the USA continue trading after four years which defies typical start up statistics because of the approach that accelerators take in building businesses,” said Elias.
Seed Engine management take a 20% stake, have board representation and directorship on each of the underlying businesses to ensure that momentum and execution of the business plan and general strategy will be carried out as envisaged, including compliance. The management are well versed in entrepreneurial businesses.
Seed Engine is powered by proud supporters of entrepreneurship and employment creation in South Africa and abroad.
· Redwood Capital,
· local and international early stage venture capital firms,
· SAVCA (South African Venture Capital Association),
· Werksmans Attorneys ,
· The Sable Accelerator,
· Amazon Web Services,
· Microsoft and
Tiber, one of the largest private property owners and construction companies in South Africa, has provided Seed Engine with free rent for the first accelerator as well as assistance with the construction of the work space.
Urban Everest, a coaching and leadership facilitation company are running the accelerator programme and coaching the entrepreneurs.
ITEC have provided the accelerator with printing facilities as well as paper and toner to support each Seed Engine venture during the programme.