South African mobile operator Telkom’s Enterprise and Supplier Development programme, Telkom FutureMakers, has partnered with venture builder firm, Aions Creative Technology to grow local startups.
This partnership comes on the back of a competitive pitching process where Aions was awarded ZAR58 million (US$3.2 million) in funding that will reflect Telkom FutureMakers’ commitment to growing 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.
Mitchan Adams, co-founder and CEO of Aions, said the funding would enable Aions to “significantly grow” the number of startup businesses it is funding and mentoring.
“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 – financial wellness and salary-linked benefit platform Level; electric scooter startup Scooter; and Tubby’s Kitchen, which manufactures a range of healthy cannabis infused kitchen products for home use. The Telkom funding will see this number grow to at least 10 in the coming 12 months, said Adams.