mLab Southern Africa, a technology accelerator and non-profit company (NPC), has announced the launch a new APP Fund which will be used to support early stage startups in the country.
The fund will be used to assist local mobile, sensor or wearable app start-ups to develop their concepts to an early stage prototype or minimal viable product.
To ensure startups are able to access the fund, they will be assisted to properly define their solution, development and financial requirements and pitching material through a number of boot camps hosted throughout the year.
Completed cases will then be pitched by the startups to a funding panel who will evaluate and approve early stage development grants.
“This partnership fills a huge gap in the digital innovation value chain by bringing much needed early stage funding to mobile app start-ups and innovators who need funding to get their ideas and concepts translated into a prototype or MVP (minimal viable product) or further accelerate or complete their first product development. We believe this will also create more deal flow for next stage investors,” said Derrick Kotze’, CEO of mLab Southern Africa.
Qualifying startups will receive grants of up to R500,000. The funded startups will also receive additional acceleration support from mLab Southern Africa.
Interested start-ups and innovators can submit their applications online to attend the bootcamps in Johannesburg and Cape Town. More cities will be announced during the year.
The fund was launched in partnership with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an Agency of the Department of Science and Technology, established in terms of the TIA Act, whose objective is to stimulate and intensify technology innovation in order to improve economic growth and the quality of life for all South Africans.
Head of ICT at TIA, Segopotso Moshapo said, “The partnership between TIA and the mLab will assist us in building a pipeline of sound mobile app based innovations, which up to so far have been difficult to assess within our mainstream innovation funding scheme.”
mLab Southern Africa is based at the Innovation Hub in Tshwane, South Africa.
The Lab focuses on skills development, product development and enterprise development within the technology innovation economy across the mobile, internet of things, data sciences and digital design verticals.