Founders Factory, which originally launched in London in October 2015 and has already built 70 startups, launched operations in Johannesburg, from where it plans to design, build and scale 100 disruptive tech startups across Africa over the next five years.
The company brings its model to Africa in partnership with Standard Bank, which has made a multi-million dollar investment into Founders Factory Africa, and as a result the first cohort is focused on fintech. The five investments have been made after Founders Factory Africa received over 500 applications from fintech startups from across the continent.
Two of the funded startups are Nigerian, in the form of school financing solution Schoolable and peer-to-peer leasing platform EazyHire, while the other three are Kenyan lending marketplace LipaLater, Ghanaian retail solutions and big data startup Kudigo, and investment news platform Digest Africa.
Founders Factory Africa has invested US$40,000 in each of these companies, and will now take them through a bespoke six-month accelerator programme that includes tailored support from a specialist team including product design, tech engineering, data science and growth marketing, to name a few, worth US$280,000.
Participating startups will also have access to global capital, talent and knowledge transfer through the Founders network that includes world class entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and successful startups across Africa, Europe, the UK and the US.
“Digest Africa, LipaLater, Kudigo, Schoolable, and EazyHire all represent the best of African leadership and innovation. Our investment and focus on growing pan-African products and market solutions will enable these exceptional entrepreneurs to address the needs of millions of people and deliver scaled financial and impact returns across the continent. Together with our multi-national corporate investors we are excited to support these business on their pathway to scale,” said Roo Rogers, chief executive officer (CEO) of Founders Factory Africa.
Standard Bank brings its significant African footprint, customer distribution networks and deep expertise that will help scale the selected businesses.
“These businesses are just the start of an exciting journey working with Founders Factory Africa. We see huge potential to grow these businesses and create jobs. Through our partnership, there is also a unique opportunity to catalyse the startup culture and early-stage investment into these ventures in Africa,” Darren Segal, executive and head of moonshots at Standard Bank, said.