Plug and Play is the ultimate global innovation platform that connects the world’s most promising startups with large, forward-thinking corporations to solve cross-sector business challenges and drive innovation, disruption and global business transformation. Their main goal is to find, invest in and accelerate great startups.

The story of Plug and Play dates back to the 1990s when founder and CEO, Saeed Amidi, acted on his vision to create a global startup accelerator and corporate innovation platform. Saeed was very involved in a number of business ventures and his family held a large real estate portfolio, including a significant portion of University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto – essentially the epicentre of Silicon Valley. His vision first took shape in a small building on University Avenue, but quickly grew into the leading global accelerator with massive success stories where Amidi invested in and accelerated companies such as Google, PayPal and Dropbox. Today, it is instrumental in accelerating hundreds of startups every year.

And now, thanks to a partnership between Nedbank CIB and Plug and Play, this proven matchmaking concept is being brought to South Africa as part of The Disruption Agenda.

“The opportunities in Africa are endless,” Amidi notes, “and we view The Disruption Agenda as an integral first step towards opening and developing an Innovation Hub in South Africa in 2019.”

Nedbank first entered into its relationship with Plug and Play two years ago as a sponsor of the global FinTech programme and according to Max Koenig, Director of Plug and Play FinTech in Silicon Valley, the partnership has afforded Plug and Play startups a viable and successful route by which to expand their business into South Africa.

“Nedbank CIB has been highly proactive in sourcing startups to digitally transform the company,” Koenig says, “and its participation in Plug and Play’s FinTech accelerator program abroad supports its commitment to source innovative digital enhancements to meet the changing needs of its clients.”

Nedbank CIB’s sponsorship of Play and Play’s Fintech initiative over the past two years has allowed business areas across Nedbank Group to actively engage with startups to source new ideas and partnerships with the ultimate aim of delivering exceptional client experiences and enhancing client value propositions through innovation and disruption.

Plug and Play’s vision for its presence in Africa includes the following:

  • To bring the spirit of Silicon Valley to South Africa;
  • To increase the rate of exposure of financial institutions and big corporations to disruptive innovation;
  • To identify South African and African investment deal flow; and
  • To afford South African and African startups an accessible route to expand their businesses internationally and for international startups to expand their businesses in the African market.

Plug and Play by the numbers:

  • 2000+ startups accelerated
  • 426 startups accelerated in 2017
  • 262 investments in 2017
  • $7 billion raised by portfolio companies
  • 750+ portfolio companies
  • 220+ corporate partners
  • 300+ VC partners