Google to incubate tech ventures in Africa

Luke Mckend, Country Manager, Google South Africa

Google is announcing the launch of Umbono, its new technology incubator, which will be based in Cape Town, South Africa.   Bringing together seed capital, Google mentorship, angel investors, local tech stars, entrepreneurs and business leaders, the Umbono programme will help selected start-up teams transform their ideas into companies.

Google hopes that Umbono will further encourage the growth of the developer community and support the country’s already flourishing tech sector.

Umbono is Zulu for “vision”, “sight” or “idea”.

Luke Mckend, Country Manager, Google South Africa, said, “The SA tech scene is incredibly dynamic, particularly in Cape Town. We’ve seen some terrific start-ups come from this environment, companies like Yola, MXit and Twangoo. Google’s latest investment with Umbono is a great extension of our overall strategy in the region to strengthen the Web ecosystem.”

For six months, teams will enjoy free office space and bandwidth, in addition to the USD 25,000 to USD 50,000 in funding they’ll receive from Umbono’s panel of angel investors and Google. Throughout the programme, teams will not only benefit from local connections, but also from the extensive mentorship network of Google experts who can provide guidance on issues ranging from product design and commercialisation, to legal incorporation and valuation.

Google is collaborating with the Silicon Cape Initiative and the Bandwidth Barn on the project. These local organisations will ensure that Umbono’s teams are well positioned to succeed.