South Africa’s Grindstone Accelerator has received a R25 million investment from the SA SME Fund and concluded partnership agreements with Google for Startups and Deloitte to extend its reach.
Grindstone will use the funding to double intake numbers, digitise learning content and run annual programmes in both Cape Town and Johannesburg and to add six cohorts of ten scale-up companies each over the next three years.
The year-long programme provides it startups with knowledge, networks and funding readiness through growth measurement, gap analysis and deep interventions designed to build a foundation for growth, transfer skills, create relevant business networks and enable these companies to take advantage of market access opportunities.
To manage the programmes and partnerships, Grindstone appointed a new Programme Director: Will Green, an emerging market entrepreneur and advisor who has worked with many start-ups, scale-ups and corporates across different industries within South Africa and abroad.
In a statement, Andrea Bӧhmert, Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital said: “The programme helps entrepreneurs who are navigating their way through the treacherous business scale-up phase by identifying the pitfalls and success metrics of their businesses strategies while closing growth gaps to execute those strategies. Our biggest differentiator is our approach to measurement – the companies need to be able to experience and measure the impact the programme had on their businesses.”
The SA SME Fund supported the current Grindstone 5 Johannesburg cohort, and confirmed another three-year partnership with its investment.
The SA SME Fund is providing favourable funding support to the next 60 Grindstone companies to enable them to close the initial growth gaps identified. Further growth funding is also available on commercial terms to scale the companies through Knife Capital as well as other funding vehicles backed by the SA SME Fund.
Grindstone also confirmed Google for Startups as a technology partner in South Africa, where it will provide Google for Startups programmes to future Grindstone cohorts.
In addition, Deloitte Digital is extending their commitment to the Grindstone programme after a successful 2019 cohort, adding their wealth of knowledge and experience to the scale-ups and the programme overall.
Grindstone’s successful portfolio companies include iKubu (subsequently acquired by Garmin), Payfast (acquired by DPO Group), SeaMonster Animation, Electrum Payments, Iono fm, Quicket (funded by Knife Capital), PICSA Finance, WhereIsMyTransport (recently raised a $7.5m), Locstat, Granite WMS (funded by Knife Capital) and OneCart, amongst others.
In the light of the current COVID-19 crisis, Grindstone is launching virtual classes with its 2020 cohorts.