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about grindstone

We Help Companies Like Yours Achieve Greatness.

Grindstone is a global growth engineer that provides startups with a supportive, collaborative environment that enables them to thrive and scale their businesses. Born in South Africa, forged in Africa, we’re crossing new frontiers to create new connections, markets, and funding opportunities across the globe.

realists and growth engineers

We understand what it takes to start and grow a business to the point of real scaling. For this you need resilience, loads of patience, a good sense of humour and real grit. Enabling growth is what we do. Will it always be easy? That we can’t promise. Will it be worth it? Oh, so very much.

We growth engineer startups

We've worked with hundreds of startups for more than a decade, and the age old adage of 'it takes at least ten years to reach overnight success' is not too far from the truth.

Growth engineering takes a focused approach to enabling a startup to grow into a scaleup, and we love to be along for the journey. It takes time and perseverance, but we have seen very few of the businesses who have entered this journey with Grindstone not still being around.

We’re helping you to cross your new frontiers and forge new connections to succeed. A pragmatic, custom-built approach per business is the only way to grow as no business is the same. We have learnt that getting funding and market access ready is often the start to a journey of many years, forging trust and belief in the impossible.

Realists with defined goals

We know that one-size-fits-all programmes don’t work, because not every entrepreneur’s journey is the same. That’s why our programmes are based on identifying and addressing the gaps at different stages of the business lifecycle. Even if bespoke interventions mean harder work for us and our entrepreneurs, our experience has taught us that bespoke interventions result in tangible outcomes.

Combining access to Knowledge, Networks, Funding and Markets make for the perfect combination of understanding your business goals and scaling your business. Come along with us.

On a mission to grow startups

Our mission is to empower startups to grow, scale and exit. We work with founders at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey, providing expert guidance, essential resources and access to networks and markets so startups attract more customers and enjoy increased funding opportunities.

Our passion to create a thriving ecosystem of innovative and successful companies around the world has led our evolution into a global growth engineer.

And we have only started. We will continue to expand our Grindstone footprint across the globe to grow startups into scaleups, and scaleups into unicorns.

Our structure

Grindstone consists of various programmes and initiatives, namely the Grindstone Accelerator, which engineers high-growth entrepreneurship, and Grindstone Ventures, a female-led and majority owned post-seed fund dedicated to Grindstone cohort innovation-driven companies with demonstrated potential.

Grindstone is jointly owned by leading venture capital firm Knife Capital and African entrepreneur ecosystem player Thinkroom Limited, assisting high-growth startups to become sustainable and fundable.


Grindstone’s biggest differentiator is our approach to measurement – cohort companies need to be able to experience and measure the impact the programme had on their businesses. Across our previous programmes, Grindstone accelerator participants experienced a consistent growth in revenue of 51% on average year-on-year, whilst creating jobs and addressing business fundamentals for accelerated growth. Below are some of the successes achieved during the programme duration of the cohorts for Revenue Growth, Demographics, Industries, Jobs Created, Increase in Business Fundamentals and CAGR, whilst Funding Raised to Date and Still Trading provides a view of all the cohorts to date over the last decade and a bit.


Our team has one thing in common. We believe in the power of entrepreneurship. We believe in what a small business can do for the economy of a household, a country, a continent and the globe. We believe that entrepreneurs are key contributors to creating jobs and changing lives. We believe in unicorns, and we believe that anything is possible. We believe in innovation and a future that unfolds as fast as you want it to. And we believe in the power of ecosystems who work together for the greater benefit of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is at the centre of everything we do. And that is why we can do what we do, so successfully.

Catherine Young
Catherine Young is an African entrepreneur with substantial experience growing startups. She founded Thinkroom and is partner at Grindstone.
Keet van Zyl
Keet is a seasoned investor who has backed numerous high-growth ventures and set up private equity funds in Southern Africa.
Lucie Fink
Lucie is an exceptional coordinator who offers her team steadfast support, efficient problem-solving, and encouraging motivation.
Sam Stodel
Sam manages Grindstone programmes and oversees various key stakeholder relationships to make Grindstone run smoothly.
grindstone community

The Grindstone alumni community is a supportive and collaborative community.

Founders can connect with a supportive network of fellow entrepreneurs who are on a similar journey, joining a robust community of entrepreneurs, corporates, funders, and ecosystem builders. With Grindstone Alumni, you can connect, engage, and grow together. Our founders know that if they need help or support, they not only have their Alumni partners to assist, they have a network of subject matter experts they can call upon.

over and beyond

Grindstone’s services don’t just end after you’ve completed a programme.

Grindstone Alumni still have access to resources as their companies grow, including advice, community support, and the benefits of our exclusive, members-only rewards programme, Grindstone Plus.