Twelve African AI startups have been selected for the second cohort of the FAST Accelerator, created by Microsoft in partnership with Flapmax and designed to strengthen and scale Africa’s digital ecosystem.
Building on the success of the inaugural programme, FAST Accelerator 2023 claims to offer a “transformative experience” for startup founders seeking to scale rapidly and sustainably. It received over 1,200 applications from 35 countries across Africa.
Following the conclusion of its two-week online bootcamp, which saw more than 60 tech companies participate in an intensive online training with experienced mentors, FAST Accelerator’s cohort of 12 startups will progress to a five-week comprehensive acceleration experience in Silicon Valley, starting in October.
The startups taking part are Zeeh Africa, Sumundi, Cotrust Equity, Trucki, Orange VFX, 10mg Pharma, Wallx, Moosbu, KCG Aquatec Fish Farming, Aibanc, Zendawa Africa and Greenbii. From next month, the cohort will participate in a wide array of activities, including training, AI integration, business development, fundraising, and various other events. They will work closely with Intel and Microsoft on co-innovation projects, receive sales and marketing support, and gain go-to-market enablement to broaden their audience reach.
Additionally, members of the Flapmax engineering team will assist startups in applying optimised Large Language AI models (LLMs), as well as in scaling and fine-tuning these models on Microsoft Azure and Intel platforms.
“Microsoft believes that African startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are well-positioned to become a bedrock for the African digital economy, with relevant solutions to local societal and economic challenges. Participation in the FAST Accelerator programme will help these entrepreneurs capture growth opportunities and expand their market reach,” said Mame-Fatou Gueye, SME programme manager at the Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.
“At Flapmax, our mission is to build societally impactful solutions that harness the power of AI to transform multiple industries through long-term partnerships with startups, SMEs, and global enterprises,” said Dr Dave Ojika, founder and CEO of Flapmax.
“Collaborating with technology partners like Microsoft and Intel, we are assembling a unique fusion of cutting-edge AI technologies, business development strategies, and global-scale growth opportunities for Africa and other emerging markets. Our objective is to empower startups and underrepresented entrepreneurs to rapidly and sustainably scale their businesses and create new job opportunities using AI as a catalyst.”