The first cohort of the FAST startup accelerator, founded by Microsoft in partnership with Flapmax and focused at strengthening and expanding Africa’s digital ecosystem, has been selected.
The 12-week FAST program, which begins next week, brings together startups from six countries and nine industries, which were selected from over 800 applications from 25 countries.
Applicants for the FAST program had to be based in Africa, ready to develop or expand inside the continent, and have a proven product-market fit that addressed one or more Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Four of the selected companies are based in Nigeria, namely Capsa Technology, an online platform to buy and sell invoices for businesses; LegitCar, which is building Africa’s biggest vehicle data service; Pade HCM, an automated HR platform for all African businesses; and DayDone, an e-commerce platform digitising Africa’s agriculture market.
Another four are from Kenya, in the shape of prop-tech platform Silqu, e-health startup Snark Health, educational app K-12 EdTech, and data-driven food supply chain platform Taimba, while the other selected companies are Egyptian agri-tech startup VAIS, Tanzanian e-health service Tumaini La Maisha, Ghanaian e-health startup Wala Digital Health, and Ugandan mobility company KaCyber Technologies.
The FAST accelerator cohort will participate in a variety of activities to help them scale rapidly and sustainably, including training, company development, cloud and AI integration, fundraising, and community building events.
Participants will work one-on-one with Microsoft engineering team members on co-innovation projects ranging from product integrations to new offerings.
The Flapmax engineering team will assist the startup founders in gaining access to new technology tools and services.
Participants will also get up to $250,000 in Microsoft Azure cloud credits, as well as access to Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, which includes OpenAI API access.
“Microsoft believes that African startups are well-placed to become a cornerstone of the African digital economy, with relevant solutions to local societal challenges. Participation in the FAST startup accelerator programme will help these entrepreneurs capture available funding opportunities and plan for growth and future market expansion,” said Gerald Maithya, startups lead at the Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.