The accelerator will take in 10 technology scaleups annually over the next four years for the Chapter54 program, which will last up to eight months. Application for the inaugural cohort will open next month, and successful startups will begin the acceleration journey in April.
Chapter54 will be funded to a tune of $5.7 million (€5 million) by the KfW Development Bank on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
“Companies from all sectors are welcome - but they must have business experience, be registered in a European country and active in two European countries, and have a solid financial foundation and regular income,” said KfW.
Vincent Previ, the managing director of Chapter54, told TechCrunch that startups will be taken through several preparation stages, including mentorship programs with founders running successful enterprises across the continent, and with C-suite tech or startup executives.
“We have a very good knowledge of the European tech ecosystem because we are one of the most prominent investors in European tech. We are now a major investor in African tech, and we have the capacity to run innovative projects through Partech Shaker… From KfW’s view, we were a good player to run this acceleration program,” said Previ.
Chapter54 will match mentors with startups based on their business models, conduct webinars with different speakers and review startups’ operation roadmaps “to check if what they have designed is consistent with the reality on the ground.”
Previ said that during these sessions, they will “check that the participating companies have the right level of knowledge of what it means to run a tech business in Africa, and have what it takes to hire tech people.”
“We are going to have a session where we will compare the gig economies in Europe and Africa, and another where we will help them do a B2C market sizing in Africa (which is not similar to Europe).”
“If you want to enter Africa, you have to do it properly, and as per legal requirements. You have to tweak the way you work. We are going to help them to reinvent the way they operate their businesses (to enter African markets).”
Chapter54 is targeting startups in growth stage with some sizable traction in the countries they operate in across Europe.
Partech has 15 investments in nine countries across Africa, including Wave; a U.S. and Senegal-based mobile money service provider, Tugende; a Ugandan mobility-tech company; and Trade Depot, a Nigeria and U.S.-based company that connects consumer goods brands to retailers.
Africa's growing young and tech-savvy population, deepening internet penetration, developing digital infrastructure and fast uptake of modern technologies by its people has made the continent the next growth frontier. KfW said it is supporting Chapter54 to promote growth and create jobs.