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Knife’s Grindstone sharpens fledgling businesses

Knife’s Grindstone sharpens fledgling businesses

Cape-based growth capital investor Knife Capital has reported encouraging results from its first round of entrepreneurial leadership initiatives undertaken by its ‘mentoring’ arm Grindstone.

Grindstone recently completed its first year in operations, a period which saw the venture taking ten participating companies through an intensive strategic review. This also meant providing additional support to allow these fledgling businesses to build a foundation for growth through the transfer of skills and introduction to relevant business networks.

As previously reported in CBN, Grindstone helps managers identify strengths and weaknesses in a start-up business – not only guiding growth strategies but also improving funding readiness ahead of potential investment. Andrea Böhmert, a partner at Knife Capital, said Grindstone set out to prove that by offering the rightguidance and support to coachable entrepreneurs, it could engineer growth on a significant and sustainable scale.”

The results were startling for the 10 companies – most notably an average growth of 61% in year-on-year revenue and additional revenue of R43m across the companies. There was also a doubling of the number of key customers and an average increase of company valuation by 100%.

Böhmert argues, “The fact that all 10 companies have experienced growth clearly demonstrates that is possible and the team is looking forward to taking everything that we have learnt into the next Grindstone programme starting in a few months.”

She noted computer vision and radar company, iKubu, achieved the best growth metrics. Böhmert said that on the back of this success Grindstone was starting to accept applications for the next programme.

“Our aim is to establish the Grindstone model as a blueprint for scaling businesses in Africa which can be used by corporates, entrepreneurs and governments alike.”

Aside from iKubu, the other Grindstone companies that participated in the programme were Apirimac Media (marketing with intelligence,) Eluminary Inc (specialist automation software,) Framework One (business evolution through automation,) iono.fm (personalised internet radio,) TR#DENT (professional data visualisation,) View Protect (transparent armed security barriers,) Office- Box (cheapest stationary guaranteed,) Okuhle Media (media, TV production and audience engaging content) and One Moja (simple financial products for African markets.)

After being honed into sharper businesses by Grindstone CBN readers may see some of these businesses cutting into the big time in the years ahead.

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