440, a joint venture between 88mph and L5Lab, has opened applications for its first accelerator programme in Lagos, Nigeria, after raising US$1.5 million to invest in 20 startups over two years.
HumanIPO reported in February 88mph – which already runs accelerator programmes in Kenya and South Africa and has to date invested more than US$2 million in African startups – had partnered L5Lab to create 440, which will invest in mobile and internet startups in Nigeria.
Applications for the first programme – which will commence in September – are now open until August 1, with successful startups to receive between US$20,000 and US$110,000 in investment and take part in a three-month accelerator programme to assist with product development, revenue generation and customer acquisition, while connecting them with mentors, partners, investors and key clients.
“While we’ve been incredibly lucky to invest in great teams in the past, trying out this more scalable, and intense model is the logical next step as we try to maximise our impact,” said Chika Nwobi, founder of L5Lab.
“Besides capital, one of the biggest needs of early stage startups is access to experienced mentors, key decision makers, and the kind of peer-to-peer interaction that this kind of programme enables.”
“Having seen the talent, hustler mentality, and sheer market size of Nigeria, I think we will see some amazing companies come out of this program,” said Kresten Buch, founder of 88mph.
“Furthermore, the reception we’ve seen so far in Lagos tells us that many experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders are looking to mentor, invest, and get involved in the mobile/web revolution that is happening in Nigeria right now. We will be announcing some of those who have agreed to get involved as mentors over the course of the summer.”
88mph’s previous investments include gaming startup Gamsole, music streaming service Mdundo and taxi hailing app Zapacab, while L5Lab was an early investor in jobs service Jobberman, car site Cheki and bus ticketing platform Oya.
The most recent 88mph accelerator programme ended last month in Cape Town with seven startups pitching to investors for follow-on funding at its Investor Day.
The startups pitching were appointments service diarize.me, event dating app Catch, pet food delivery service Pet Heaven, property rental marketplace Ekaya, big data and mobile commerce service Graphflow, insurance premium receipting and allocation firm Byte Money, and premium ad network 8Bit.