Accelerator 1

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We've created a new model for building and funding SA's technology startups


In partnership with the SA SME Fund

We build rather than just support startups. We work alongside companies to write code, make sales calls and close commercial contracts. As a venture-builder that’s been in the business for more than four years, we know what founders need to build and scale their businesses. We’ve taken all our learnings and knowledge and packaged it into a 20-week programme. We aim to get companies investment-ready and funded within five months of starting our programme. 

Philani Sangweni, CEO Akro Accelerate
BCom (Accounting); Executive MBA (INSEAD)

The Akro Accelerator programme was critical for my business. The process helped to iterate and pivot until I had a product that people really wanted. When I launched my final product customers paid from day 1.

Sandras Phiri - Startup Grind Cape Town Director & founder of

With Akro, you are in the real world, you have to be prepared to push your entrepreneurial skills to the extreme levels, adapt to extreme conditions and curve balls.

Jonathan Asiamah - Dentx

Akro works at a grassroots level to find and support SA’s best early stage technology startups - we're looking forward to help scale their efforts with the launch of their accelerator programme

Ketso Gordhan, CEO SA SME Fund

We’re really excited to work with the SA SME Fund. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to build and scale their businesses while also expanding their investor and advisor networks

Philani Sangweni, CEO Akro Accelerate


The Core Phase is an intense 8-week period of rapid building, workshopping and scaling at Akro HQ in Cape Town. This is followed by the Extended Phase, a 12-week period of continued mentorship combined with focussed and dedicated fundraising efforts.  



23 August: Applications close
9 Sept to 1 Nov: Core Phase 
31 Oct: Demo day 
4 Nov to 24 Jan: Extended Phase
TBA: Applications for Cohort 3 

Dates subject to change


We provide startups with access to capital from the SA SME Fund, to be deployed through their partner funds, as well as access to Akro’s angel investor network. Investment discussions take place after the Core Phase.

We are not concerned with:

Revenue: Most accelerators and incubators claim that revenue is not critically important, but in reality try to find the most-developed startups they can to join their programs.

We are truly not interested in whether the startups have revenue or not.

Market-ready products: Most accelerators and incubators look for startups with the most market-ready products already in use with their market. 

We are not interested in how beautiful the products are, and much more so with whether the Founders bothered to work on building a product at all.

We are deeply concerned with:

Founders who are brilliant in every way, who show evidence of smarts, focus, intensity, drive, passion and character.

Founders who show unparalleled work ethic, who have the ability to work many more hours than their peers and be happy doing so.

Founders who show clear signs of true growth ambition, who are not looking to build lifestyle businesses or simply make themselves some money.

Business ideas that make sense as businesses and not simply as projects.

Business ideas that have been actioned in some respect. While we are not sticky about products that are market-ready, we need to see an indication of both ability to build things, and initiative to build things. So we look for startups that have taken the actions necessary to build a product, even if it is not beautifully presented.


Startups Get

288 hours of dedicated time and active business-building with our experts and advisors, including time with software architects, designers and other product-builders.

60 hours of post-programme mentorship with our advisors.

R175,000 in legal and financial services, including ±R75,000 worth of contracts and other legal documentation offered as part of the package, and Facetime with our partner accounting firm, Iridium.

R100,000 in digital infrastructure services.

Access to our co-working spaces in CPT.

Access to potential partner and client networks, valuable startup-specific resources, and investors.

Events, excursions and other activities.

The Akro Accelerate Team

Philani Sangweni is an ex-corporate executive and management consultant, having worked at Accenture as a Senior Manager and at education finance company, Fundi, as Chief Operating Officer. Philani has worked closely with technology startup companies within these roles from an investment standpoint and has also started several companies of his own. Philani holds an Executive MBA from INSEAD. 

Pieter Strydom is a CA(SA), EdTech startup founder and passionate community-builder. He combines his corporate experience and knowledge across multiple industries with a strong entrepreneurial track record, to deliver unique insights to startups that are getting started on their journey. Pieter was part of the initial group of six UCT-alums that co-founded Akro. 

Pieter Strydom (Akro Accelerate Programme Director)
& Philani Sangweni (Akro Accelerate Chief Executive Officer)

Accelerator 5

Jason Basel (Akro Accelerate Main Mentor)

Jason Basel is a passionate entrepreneur, co-founder of EduOne, South Africa’s biggest student-centric platform with over 2.7 million users. As CEO of this fast-growing Edtech/Fintech startup, Jason brings practical, hands-on knowledge and experience across a wide range of different business operations, including legal, product development, finance, sales and business development. This multifaceted skill set allows him to advise and assist startups across a diverse spectrum of challenges they face.

Accelerator 6

Mushambi Mutuma (Akro Accelerate Main Mentor)

Mushambi Mutuma is a serial tech entrepreneur, speaker, and author. He is the co founder and MD of Altivex Creative Foundry, which provides innovative, digital solutions to clients globally, to maximize growth. He has a demonstrated track record in the startup accelerator space, having advised multiple accelerators and incubators including the Innovation Hub, Standard Bank Incubator and Endeavor.

Accelerator 7

Whitney Tennant (Akro Accelerate Main Mentor)

Whitney Tennant has over 9 years in software development experience and is former CTO for an EdTech startup in the United States. She cares about leveraging technical knowledge for social change. Whitney has recently started her own software development company and enjoys assisting other founders expand their potential. She works with NGOs: Women in Tech,  Coder Level Up and is an executive leader of PyConZA – South Africa’s largest open source conference.


We’d love to hear from you. Applications for the second cohort are now closed. We will be accepting applications for Cohort 3 shortly.

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