Grindstone, a South African startup accelerator, has announced the list of 20 startups that were selected for its 2020 program. Grindstone is an entrepreneurship development program that is jointly owned by Knife Capital, a venture capital fund management company, Thinkroom Consulting, a market access specialist company.

The announcement of the list of startups that make up Grindstone's 2020 cohort follows the organization's launch of a new venture capital fund, Grindstone Ventures, earlier in August 2020. Grindstone Ventures will be dedicated to providing early-stage equity funding to its cohorts of startups.

“We are extremely satisfied with the collaborative efforts of our team, partners, and friends from the ecosystem for curating two extremely strong and complimentary cohorts from the more than 200 applications received. We invested significant time and diligence to ensure that we can add value to the Top 20 entrepreneurs and their ventures in achieving their business goals and growth prospects,” said Will Green, Programme Director at Grindstone.

Funding African startups

Although in recent weeks the valid argument around investor bias when it comes to funding African technology startups has been hotly debated, it is equally encouraging that investment and development of startups across Africa have increased over the past decade. The landscape looks markedly different from the beginning of the previous decade.

Not only have we witnessed more European, Asian, and American venture capitalists paying attention to African startups, we have also seen, although still limited, more local investors being interested in investing in startups that operate in various countries across the continent.

Not only that, but we have also observed the rise in technology hubs, accelerators, and incubators across Africa.

Startups selected for Grindstone's 2020 program

The startups that made it onto Grindstone's 2020 program.

The 20 startups that have been selected for the 2020 Grindstone Accelerator program are:

1.     On The Bench brings e-commerce closer to Professional Services companies – enabling them to sell their services online.

2.     Neural Sense is Africa's leading neuromarketing company. They elevate customer experiences by conducting cutting edge market research through neuroscience, including User Experience; Advertising and Shopper Marketing Research.

3.     Skywalk Innovations focuses on helping organisations navigate the digital modernisation journey through their unique Discover, Engineer, Grow approach. A predictable and measurable approach to assist companies along their modernisation journey.

4.     Matter Industries is a fully integrated IoT business developing smart sensor networks for real-time remote monitoring of infrastructure assets providing efficiency, safety and sustainability. They make smart simple.

5.     Zaio curates customized learning journeys to build a pipeline of talent for companies. Learners use a gamified platform to upskill and land a tech job in web and mobile development, data science and other emerging technologies.

6.     GWork.io is a performance and culture management tool for remote teams.

7.     Locumbase connects medical professionals and practices to simplify the locum booking process.

8.     Continuon is an AI powered platform that helps brands understand their social media communities & content, identify nano- influencers, and build data-driven campaigns that increase ROI.

9.     SME Snapshot is a real-time financial analytics dashboard that allows founders and funders to mitigate the daily risks they encounter in the SME ecosystem.

10.  Luxity is South Africa's largest source of pre-owned luxury goods. They provide a safe and secure method for buying and selling authentic luxury items online and in-store.

11.  Franc is a digital wealth platform helping more people invest more.

12.  Shelfline is a digital 'learn to earn' solution, turning the last mile distribution solution into an SME, driven by adding young community entrepreneurs to its network of distribution programmes, which focuses on delivering products to market in a reliable and cost-effective manner.

13.  Mint AI uses advanced AI technology to improve people’s lives. With a strong focus on Computer Vision in the Healthcare and Education spaces, they believe that the correct technology, correctly applied, can dramatically improve all lives and livelihoods.

14.  Syked is an online wellness company with a wide database of practitioners that focus on counselling support to clients in the comfort of their own home over a secure video platform.

15.  InfoByte Technologies is a software development company, that focuses on building payments, e-commerce and artificial intelligence products.

16.  Sorted simplifies vehicle compliance, by automating license renewals, fines management and other road-related admin.

17.  Oyi Medical Card helps people to save for their family's healthcare needs with discipline and peace of mind knowing that their savings are protected from other commitments in the household.

18.  TradeBRICS is an online sourcing marketplace that uses big data to connect buyers and procurement professionals with quality products & services from trusted local suppliers and manufacturers.

19.  cARscan is an Augmented Reality app with an embedded visual recognition AI to track the visual condition of every motor vehicle during its life-stage.

20.  Surion uses state-of-the-art computer vision, AI, IoT and IP cameras to create a seamless security ecosystem for businesses and homes.

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