Mobile startups looking for a platform to scale their business and are interested in being hosted on WeChat can now apply for the Tencent-owned instant messenger’s R50 million fund.

The WeChat Fund, which was announced early in December last year, is not a way for mobile startups to grow but also a channel for WeChat to offer improved services to its millions of South African users.

WeChat partnered with digital strategy firm Batstone to identify qualifying early stage startups for the fund and offer guidance and support to improve each business’ services and have it ready to be launched on the platform.

To qualify for the WeChat Fund, startups must fit the following criteria:

  • Strong founding team
  • Developed and tested MVP (minimal viable product)
  • Can demonstrate strong growth / traction in the South African market
  • Ability and appetite to expand into other markets on the WeChat platform
  • National footprint (i.e. product or service is available in Cape Town and Joburg as a minimum)
  • Strong strategic fit with the WeChat platform e.g. wallet integration
  • Not a competitor to other official WeChat accounts (e.g. a business which directly competes with PicUp or Money4Jam)
  • Willingness to take on equity based funding for expansion

Submit your application on the Batsone website by 12th February. Successful applicants will be notified on 26th February and will take part in the first Batstone workshop in March.

[Image – CC by Cheon Fong Liew]