Plug and Play and South Africa?

Plug and Play?

I was having a morning coffee meeting last week with a business connection when he said that he was interested in partnering with Plug and Play and that they were coming to South Africa. I wondered why he was interested in a technology term that has been around for decades.

If you are like me and have never heard of Plug and Play it turns out that they are a huge venture capital and startup accelerator platform that was formed in 2006 and based in Sunnyvale, California. They claim to be the largest accelerator in the world, are in 28 locations in the world and have 50+ accelerator programs across 14 industries.

Plug and Play where early investors in Google, PayPal and Dropbox.

They hosted 733 events in 2017 attended by 38,300 people and involved in 426 startups where the average investment was $115k.

They have dozens of corporate partners around the world including Nedbank and Sanlam in South Africa.

Plug and Play in South Africa?

After hearing about Plug and Play I then wondered why they were coming to South Africa? It turns out that they have at least two corporate partners in South Africa.


In an ITWeb article titled “Nedbank brings Plug and Play Fintech to SA” Stuart van der Veen, head of Disruption and Innovation, says that Nedbank had been a partner of Plug and Play since 2016 and that they are holding a Disruption Agenda event taking place right now. This is a closed event for Nedbank clients but a public event will take place later in the year.

Saeed Amidi, the Plug and Play CEO and founder, said the viewed the Disruption Agenda event as an “integral first step” for opening and developing an Innovation Hub in South Africa next year.


In June 2018 Sanlam announced a partnership with Plug and Play with an involvement in their Insurtech program.

Sanlam have said that through the implementation of start-up technology into the company they aim to:

  • Transform the client experience

  • Automate processes within the organisation for a better experience

  • Use the data it has to boost growth.

To kick off the partnership Sanlam will be hosting an event on October 25th 2018 titled “Plug and Play X South Africa”. The venue hasn’t been finalised and details can be found here.

Your thoughts?

Have you heard of Plug and Play? Are you excited about their involvement in South Africa and potentially establishing an Innovation Hub here in South Africa? Will we see other South African companies getting involved in the other industry accelerator programs Plug and Play run?

I think this is really great for South Africa and I commend Nedbank and Sanlam for getting involved. Hopefully it will benefit them, startups in South Africa and our country as a whole.

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