To help local startups grow, the South African mobile operator Telkom has partnered with venture builder company Aions Creative Technology through its Enterprise and Supplier Development program, Telkom FutureMakers.
Following a tough pitching competition, Aions was given ZAR58 million (US$3.2 million) in funding, which will demonstrate Telkom FutureMakers’ dedication to supporting and partnering with South African ICT SMMEs.
“What sets Aions apart from other entrants is that they provide both funding and end-to-end support for start-ups, which is in line with Telkom FutureMakers’ focus on innovation. Part of this focus includes the need for a suitable vehicle to achieve investments in innovation-based digital value propositions,” said Mmathebe Zvobwo, Telkom Executive: Enterprise & Supplier Development.
The funding will allow Aions to “significantly grow” the number of startup companies it supports and mentors, according to Mitchan Adams, co-founder and CEO of Aions.
“As venture builders, we provide the seed funding the start-ups need and then work closely with the founders to transform them into a market-ready offering that can scale rapidly and employ more people themselves. We believe this approach resonated strongly with Telkom’s goal of growing and building businesses, especially in disadvantaged areas,” he said.
Aions is currently mentoring three startups: Level, a platform for financial wellness and salary-linked benefits; Scooter, a start-up for electric scooters; and Tubby’s Kitchen, a company that produces a line of nutritious cannabis-infused kitchen products for home use. In the upcoming 12 months, according to Adams, this number will increase to at least 10 thanks to Telkom funding.