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88MPH seeks to send African entrepreneurs west, and bring Western Startups back to Nairobi

05.17.13_technewsrprt_img_stories_regina-timothy_mphLast week, 88mph, a startup seed fund and accelerator based in Nairobi and Cape Town, announced that they will be sending one startup to Silicon Valley this summer to participate in Blackbox Connect Summer ’13, a two-week immersion program for startup founders based outside of the United States. The program will take place between July 15-26, 2013 in Atherton, California.

All startups that apply to 88mph Nairobi three-month accelerator before May 31, 2013 will be considered for a chance to go to Silicon Valley. 88mph startup alumni are also invited to pitch and participate.

The selected Blackbox Connect Summer ‘13 entrepreneurs will live at the Blackbox Mansion for two weeks to live and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs from all around the world.

Startups can apply directly on the 88mph website and must mention Blackbox Connect in the title of the application, plus upload a video about how they’ll take Silicon Valley by storm.

“Innovation is often born from necessity in Africa. Because of certain challenges here, whether they are infrastructure, government or funding related, Africa has had to leapfrog, We’ve had to work with a little to successfully produce a lot,” says Nikolai Barnwell, 88mph Nairobi Program Manager. “Mobile, for instance, has changed Africa and as a result, Africa is changing mobile. The learning we can offer, and those from others around the globe, will make for an invaluable exchange of ideas this summer.”

Past program speakers and mentors include valley veterans Dave McLure, Tim Draper, Keith Teare and Robert Scoble.

During the Blackbox Connect Summer, 88mph will be holding interviews of their own in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California for startups interested in going through the Nairobi three-month accelerator that begins August 26, 2013.

Startups will be required to first submit their business via the 88mph online application and will be notified of their interview time and location by the first week of July.

Accepted startups will receive up to $100,000 in funding and will also be required to be present in Nairobi from the start of the program through the end of November.

“88mph supports startups and companies that build useful technology for Africa,” said Barnwell. “We’re looking for anyone who is interested in mobile/web in Africa to get involved, regardless of where they’re from. The more international companies and investors that we can bring to this endeavor, the better.”

88mph opened in Nairobi, Kenya in 2011 and has since made 23 startup investments. The seed accelerator started operations in Cape Town, South Africa in February 2013 and plans to expand to Lagos, Nigeria next year

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