For the first time, Africa startups are invited to participate in the Facebook accelerator program in London. The program launches in November for 12 weeks.
Facebook is inviting applications for the third edition of its London accelerator programme, which is open for the first time to startups from Africa. The programme seeks to attract startups from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) that are creating impact at scale using artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), blockchain and other Facebook technologies. Applications to participate commenced on 22nd September 2019
About Facebook Accelerator
The program was launched in London two years ago, under the name LDN_LAB. The 12-week incubator program will now be called Facebook Accelerator London, to make its purpose as a startup accelerator more clear.
Facebook operates similar startup incubators globally. This year’s London accelerator is organized in partnership with digital consulting firm Founders Intelligence. Participants will get opportunity to interact with Facebook employees and also attend workshops and mentorship programs.
Facebook accelerator is the third of the company’s incubator series in London. The first series focused on startups working in technology to build communities. The second series was themed “deep tech for good.”
Similarly the third, which launches in November will focus on “high-growth startups” working in transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and blockchain, among “other Facebook products and technologies.”
The Global Impact
While the Facebook Accelerator program has until now only accepted applications from U.K.-based startups, it is looking at a wider representation for the next series. Hence Africa startups are also invited to participate in the accelerator
“Innovation is at the heart of Facebook and today we are opening up our London accelerator program to applications from startups across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa,” noted Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s VP of EMEA region. “The selected startups will gain access to experts from across Facebook including those working in augmented reality, blockchain, and AI.”
There are other caveats for acceptance onto the program too. Facebook said that it’s also focusing on technology that has a “positive impact on the world,” including those working toward improving “digital connectivity” globally. Africa startups that fit this description are invited to participate in the accelerator
Each of the program’s various areas of focus tie in with technologies that Facebook is actively working on. It recently announced plans for a blockchain-based cryptocurrency called Libra, for example, while it’s also looking to improve internet infrastructure via various conduits, such as satellite-based Wi-Fi hotspots and subsea cabling projects. Elsewhere, the social networking giant is investing heavily in the VR and AR spheres too.