2 LaunchLab startups’ ventures successfully into Grindstone’s top programme
At LaunchLab our mission is to facilitate valuable connections for startups with strategic partners. The most important part of facilitating those connections is ensuring that they are, in fact, valuable. We work hard to make sure our startups have designed a value proposition and business model that creates value to customers and generates revenue for their business. That’s part and parcel of an incubator.
We go a little bit further than most incubators with our Countdown programme. Many programmes simply go through business topics to tick the business skills boxes and impart some knowledge and skill to startups. We go further with some intentionality to help them get their house in order to become a quality vehicle for funding.
We get some of the best legal, marketing, sales, finance, etc experts together in a programme to specifically address the majority of the due diligence requirements for investors and enterprise customers. We believe this makes the connections all the more valuable when we facilitate them for the startup companies that we work with.
Some of the evidence of that is in our success with one of, if not the, top accelerator programmes on the continent. Run by the team at Knife Capital, startups that we have worked with at LaunchLab continue to find success in getting into this top programme.
Launchlab began in earnest in 2015 when we moved from a basement on main campus at Stellenbosch University to our current 1200m2 facility. When we moved in, Grindstone 2 was already in full swing. When Grindstone 3 launched, we had 3 (Custos Media Technologies, Leap.ly and PICSA) companies apply out of the 150+- that applied altogether. All 3 LaunchLab companies were accepted into the cohort of 10. This success is very exciting for us with the potential of the multiplied value through a programme like Grindstone and a team like Knife.
Grindstone 4 recently kicked off, and we are excited to say that LaunchLab companies saw more success. Our 100% strike rate was broken, as only 2 of the 4 were accepted (Vizibiliti Insight and Sxuirrel), but all 4 were invited to the shortlist of 20, of which 12 were accepted.
While all 5 of these that have been accepted into Grindstone still have a long way to go to be seen as a massive success, the fact that they have been recognized by Grindstone shows that they are set apart from most in the quality of their teams and their offering in their respective markets.
There are many other valuable connections that we have facilitated for very early stage businesses, with more than R100m raised in risk capital in 3.5 years and more than a dozen pilots with enterprise customers.
Well done to the Knife and KNF Ventures team on launching another Grindstone programme, and we look forward to celebrating the achievements of this latest cohort with you when the programme is completed.