Groundbreaking Accelerator Announces 10 Finalist Companies From 400 Applications

Innovation is what shines through each of the 10 scale-up companies that have been selected for Knife Capital’s first Johannesburg Grindstone Accelerator program.

Grindstone is a structured entrepreneurship development program, jointly owned by Knife Capital and Thinkroom Consulting, that assists high-growth innovation-driven SMEs to become sustainable and fundable. Knife Capital joined forces this year with the SA SME Fund and Deloitte to run the program in Johannesburg.


Selected out of 400 applicants, Innovation was the common thread linking the Top 10 diverse enterprise finalists, for the first Johannesburg iteration of Knife Capital’s Grindstone Accelerator program.

Andrea Bӧhmert, Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital comments, "Receiving more than 400 applications surprised us and the quality of the companies by far exceeded our expectations."

“One of the strengths of the Grindstone selection process is that it involved getting to know the candidates face-to-face and not just on paper,” says Ndumiso Khoza, Head of Digital Venturing Deloitte Africa.

Ketso Gordhan, CEO of the SA SME Fund says, "To add to the quality of the final 10 enterprises, 70% were majority black-owned and 4 were run by women. They each employ an average of 7 people and have been in business for 4 years, growing at a rate of more than 40% year-on-year. This is a South African economy that slumped sharply in the first three months of 2019, contracting by 3,2%."


“We are excited about the caliber of the first Johannesburg cohort and so grateful to Knife Capital and the other value-adding partners for making it happen," Ketso adds.

Grindstone will provide the 10 scale-up companies selected for a year-long program with knowledge, networks and funding readiness through growth measurement, gap analysis and deep interventions designed to enable these companies to take advantage of market access opportunities.

“With partners like the SA SME Fund and Deloitte and the support of FNB Business Banking, Webber Wentzel, the BillyBo Group and AWS, we are confident that we will be able to assist our ten selected companies to address their growth challenges and make of them the next South African entrepreneurial success stories. We have a proven model, committed partners, and great companies to work with, to once again prove that growth can be engineered,” says Bӧhmert.

We are proud to announce the 10 successful candidates for the 2019 Grindstone Accelerator program:

WizzPass is a seamless visitor and contractor management system focused on removing and improving insecure, outdated paper and manual systems.

LeadRobot a middle-of-the-funnel data analytics and marketing automation tool that uses AI to enrich, cleanse and predictively score incoming leads in real-time to empower sales and marketing teams.

MSAT provides digital satellite and IP technology solutions to professional broadcasters.

Marc1 an Internet of Things Point of Sale solution, providing physical retailers with some of the tools previously only available to their online peers.

Liquid Gold, a company in the circular economy of sanitation with a unique waterless unisex urinal and nutrient recovery solution.

Ashanti-AI assists businesses in solving some of their biggest challenges using Data Engineering, Analytics, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.

Excel@Uni applications and online tools that assist Universities and funders with student selection, fund disbursement, reporting, and successful interventions.

Crayon a talent-sourcing platform designed from the bottom up to reduce hiring mistakes via a standardized and transparent process that informs both the employer and candidate in a data-rich, yet fun, way.

Lula an app that connects corporate commuters to private shuttles on their way to work.

Farosian a specialist social media company that partners with businesses to better understand the complexities associated with social media, by generating social media screening reports.