Savannah Fund: ‘For entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs’

There’s a new fund that aims to find and invest in the most promising technology-focused startup companies in sub-Saharan Africa.

The $10 million Savannah Fund seeks to bring and adapt to the African context the accelerator model used in Silicon Valley in the United States. In this model, startup companies will be grouped in order to learn from peers and expert mentors.

The fund was co-founded by “tech entrepreneurs” Erik Hersman, Paul Bragiel and Mbwana Alliy, along with a number of local and international investors. It aims to bring together and support classes of up to five startup companies. Firms will receive $25,000 each and will have three to six months to prove themselves.

“Those who fail either pivot or leave, those who gain traction have a chance at follow-on funding,” Hersman, who is also co-founder of nonprofit tech company Ushahidi, says on his blog, where he explains that they plan to make $100,000 to $200,000 available as follow-up funding for promising companies.

Hersman also provided a glimpse at the types of firms the fund aims to support: “We’re here for the small guy and our goal is to find those risky tech startups with hungry, passionate founders that will do the hard work it takes to become a successful company.”

Interested companies can apply for the fund’s first accelerator batch online.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.