New Startups in Africa Invited to Apply For the Amazon Loft Accelerator

Amazon Web Services has launched the AWS Startup Loft Accelerator, a 10-week, virtual, equity-free acceleration program for early-stage startups in countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Participants of the startup accelerator will have tailored personal training with access to experienced advisors, subject matter experts, investors, and some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, who have built their businesses on AWS. They can also join a large community of entrepreneurs to share knowledge, experience, and advice.

They will be eligible to join the AWS Activate program, which includes up to $25K in Activate credits to spend on AWS services, a one-year free AWS Business Support subscription for up to $5K, access to the pre-built infrastructure templates, and exclusive member-only offers.

Applications open in November 2021 for all startups from across the European Union, United Kingdom, and Israel, seeking to build and scale their product on AWS. The first cohort of 25 startups will start in early 2022, with the program expanding to more countries across EMEA in the coming months.

Technical Expertise

AWS business and technical experts will work closely with the startups. This includes AWS solutions architects who will help startups accelerate the design and development of a minimum viable product.

Investors including Entrée Capital and founders, Bernadette Nixon, CEO of Algolia, Cristina Fonseca, co-founder of Portuguese unicorn Talkdesk and AI startup Cleverly, and Dr. Shay David, co-founder, and CEO of UK-based startup and co-founder of Kaltura, will work with the startups.

These experts will help to refine business plans and provide guidance on topics such as finance, marketing, and human resources. AWS accelerator partners will also deliver dedicated content as part of the AWS Startup Loft Accelerator.

“We focus on investing in great teams who are building businesses in large, interesting markets. We’re delighted to be supporting this new AWS accelerator to give hungry, ambitious, and talented entrepreneurs the opportunity they need,” said Eran Bielski, General Partner at Entrée Capital.

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No Equity Necessary

The AWS Startup Loft Accelerator does not take any equity in participating startups, has a flexible weekly commitment, supports startups from both a technical and business perspective, and because the program is virtual founders do not need to worry about the cost of relocating.

AWS has enabled some of the world’s most admired startups from British food delivery company JustEat, which went from a small operation in a Danish basement to a public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of £1.5 billion, to German-based digital bank N26, and Spanish ride-hailing company Cabify.

“Our new AWS Startup Loft Accelerator gives entrepreneurs exactly what they told us matters most when starting a company: access to the tools, expertise, and resources they need to bring their ideas to life,” said Kellen O’Connor, Director, EMEA Startups at AWS.

Fundamental Support

Two startups already benefiting from AWS’ investment in similar accelerator programs include Justt and PayEm. Both startups experienced rapid growth as a result of participating in the AWS Builder Space accelerator in Israel.

“The infrastructure, support, and training we’ve had from AWS has been fundamental to our startup’s success,” explained Roenen Ben Ami co-founder at Justt. “It provided us with the confidence we needed to launch our business quickly.”

“With an increasingly competitive startup market, you need to be able to define and differentiate your business quickly. This can be taxing on the soul. In addition to their expertise, AWS delivered a level of support that was invaluable. They just ‘got’ what we needed and when we needed it,” explained Itamar Jobani, co-founder at PayEm.

Interested startups can apply to participate in the first cohort here. For more information visit: AWS Startup Loft Accelerator.

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