Opening its doors in South Africa’s Cape Town this month, Sw7 is revolutionizing the way startups are build by not taking equity and by not forcing them to quit their day jobs.
According to Keith Jones its founder, “One minute a new player will have a ton of press coverage and a load of backing behind it, the next it’ll have quietly disappeared and its founders will be suspiciously unavailable for interviews.Sw7 will try to change all that.”
Sw7 will not ask any of its participants to hand over equity in their companies, instead, participants pay a nominal fee to participate in one of three programmes with the most intense being a nine-week, part-time evening programme.
“During the course, founders will be equipped to build out the plans and strategy for the business through a series of mentoring workshops from up to three mentors, group workshops with their cohort and individual exercises amounting to around fifteen hours of work a week,” he added.
The programme is not limited to early stage ventures, as it also includes companies which have a turn over of up to R50 million.
Sw7 is also working in partnership with Microsoft BizAfrika and Jobsfund as well as a number of international and South African mentors. Among the local contingent of people who’ll be handing out advice to the startups are PrivateProperty founder Justinus Adriaanse and Quirk MD Justin Spratt.
“We don’t have the volume or quality of businesses coming through the market to support the traditional equity based international acceleration programmes,” said Jones. “On top of this, we have a world class B2B IT sector, which means that many of the businesses are able to bootstrap and fund the build of their products through services without the equity dilution”.