Knife Capital, a venture capital firm in South Africa, has announced that it is launching its 4th Grindstone Accelerator programme for startups. in partnership with African SME market access specialist Thinkroom. The aim of the Grindstone Accelerator programme is to help engineer growth for South African technology startups and shaping them to become more investable, sustainable and exit-ready.

Knife Capital has said that it is looking for startups with the potential of high-growth.

Grindstone Accelerator Startups South Africa

“We initially set out to prove that by offering the right guidance and support to coachable entrepreneurs, we can engineer growth on a significant and sustainable scale. The fact that so many of our Grindstone companies have experienced growth, investment and/or exits clearly demonstrates that it is possible. The team is excited about taking everything that we’ve learned into the next Grindstone programme starting in August,” said Andrea Bӧhmert, Partner at Knife Capital.

South African startups

South Africa's startup ecosystem is definitely growing given not only the number of startups that are growing but also the number that is attracting funding. Furthermore, according to the many South African SME ecosystem reports that have been published so far in 2018, there is a rising tide in entrepreneurship which has seen an increasing number of incubators with a diverse range of focus areas, entrepreneurship as an acceptable viable career path, and more funding available to back early-stage entrepreneurs than ever before.

However, according to Knife Capital, this is so far not translating into many startups becoming successful.

Knife Capital describes Grindstone as "part-accelerator, part-investor, and part-advisor." It is a year-long startup programme that takes ten startups with proven traction through an intensive review of their strategies and provides them with the necessary support to build a foundation for growth through executive coaching, transfer of skills and introduction to relevant business networks. For those companies seeking funding, Grindstone also serves as a potential deal pipeline generator for Knife Capital’s SARS Section 12J Venture Capital Company: KNF Ventures.

“We created Grindstone by effectively compressing our venture capital engagement model of aggressively growing a company for three to five years into an intense one-year programme,” said Keet van Zyl, Co-Founder of Knife Capital.

The selection process kicks off in August 2018 with an interactive Exit Readiness Workshop aimed at providing tangible information to 50 startups and unpacking some of Knife Capital’s exit case studies. From there, 20 startups will then be shortlisted for Grindstone’s early-stage ‘Find-Make-Grow-Realise’ investment course and gap analysis boot camp, where ten companies will be selected as participants for the final stage of the programme.

Applications for the programme close on 31 August 2018.

Cover image credit: Space ship. Pixabay

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