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All posts by AlphaCode

AlphaCode
AlphaCode, launched in September 2015, is the fintech investment arm of Rand Merchant Investment Holdings with the mandate to invest into a diversified portfolio of superior entrepreneur led, early-stage fintech focused businesses that have achieved some market traction and are poised for rapid growth. AlphaCode offers a state-of- the-art shared workspace designed as a clubhouse which members can use for hot desking, meetings and engaging with other members. The space is also designed to host frequent events such as fireside chats with leading entrepreneurs, dialogue sessions, networking functions and pitch evenings. Investments to date incluce Merchant Capital and Entersekt.
  • Insurtech is transforming a staid South African insurance industry

    One of the hottest trends in South African fintech in 2018 is insurtech -- which has gained momentum over the last two years, says Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode, a club for fintech entrepreneurs powered by Rand Merchant Investment Holdings. "It was initially seen as a major threat by insurance companies, but now insurers are taking a far more proactive approach to seize opportunities in this space and are starting to collaborate with startups. Exciting new models are transforming a staid industry characterised by opaqueness and outdated systems,” says Collett (pictured above). As millennials enter the market with different expectations, the insurance industry is...

  • Regtech, the new fintech, driven by complex financial regulations

    "There are three elements driving interest in regulatory technology (regtech) in South Africa and abroad," explains Dominique Collett, senior investment executive at Rand Merchant Investment Holdings and head of AlphaCode, a club for fintech entrepreneurs. "These include customer demand for an enhanced experience, cost reduction and the simplification of compliance due to burdensome regulation in the financial services industry," adds Collet (pictured above) Regtech is innovative technology developed to address regulatory challenges. Whilst regtech focuses on compliance, risk management, regulatory reporting and transactions monitoring, the focus in South Africa has been on identity management. Most financial services businesses including banks, wealth and asset...

  • AlphaCode head calls on SA to become a fintech centre of excellence

    Dominique Collet, senior investment executive at Rand Merchant Investment Holdings and head of AlphaCode has called on the South African fintech scene to become "a centre of excellence". "Now that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has established a fintech programme to track and analyse developments, South Africa has all that is required to become a fintech centre of excellence," says Collett (pictured above). She believes the country has "an advanced banking and financial services system with a sound regulatory regime". "We have extremely competent regulators, top entrepreneurial talent and innovative businesses that are attracting considerable local and global investments. The missing puzzle piece...

  • Goodbye online crooks: SA startup keeps money safe till buyers, sellers both agree

    As online fraud in South Africa escalates, buying and selling goods using online platforms places both buyers and sellers at risk. After Jethro O’Brien, CEO and co-founder of TradeSafe.co.za, was duped while trying to buy car parts that had been advertised online, his idea for TradeSafe was born. TradeSafe is a licensed, independent fintech company that safeguards a buyer's funds in trust (escrow) until the seller delivers what was promised. Only once the buyer is happy with the goods or services received, does TradeSafe release the funds. Explains O’Brien, “We act as a buffer between a buyer and a seller. The...

  • South African fintech in 2018 – what can we expect? [Opinion]

    Fintech continues to surprise with little to touch the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in 2017.  This will continue in 2018 and I make some predictions based on what we see happening globally and what we see taking place with our members at AlphaCode, a Rand Merchant Investments club for fintech startup entrepreneurs. Bitcoin At the end of 2016 I predicted that 2017 was going to be the year that the world would embrace bitcoin. I thought it would go mainstream but I had no idea how mainstream it would become. We have seen the bitcoin price increase from $1000 at the beginning...

  • Four black-owned fintech startups each win R1m at Alphacode pitching event

    Four black-owned South African financial services startups each won R1-million last night at a pitching event hosted by AlphaCode. The event was held on 31 October and was run for the third time in collaboration with AlphaCode, a club for next generation financial services entrepreneurs powered by RMI Holdings. The Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) pitching event is an initiative of Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings which seeks to identify and reward high potential South African fintech entrepreneurs to boost the development of fintech in South Africa. Monetary awards were made to four of the 10 black-owned financial services businesses which pitched. The four businesses, as recipients of the grant funding, will become members...

  • Slide app, SA’s own version of Venmo, aims to boost person-to-person payments

    South Africa has just got its own version of Venmo, one of the US’s most successful payment platforms owned by PayPal that processes $25-billion in person-to-person payments annually. The Slide app is founded by three young South Africans who recently returned from living in the US -- Irshad Kathrada, Terence Goldberg and Alon Stern. The three have developed the app to change the way South Africans pay each other. Kathrada, worked for JP Morgan in Johannesburg, London and New York; Terence Goldberg, worked in Toronto and San Francisco; and Alon Stern moved to the US from South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship where he worked at...

  • Mama Money makes FICA simple: take a photo and a selfie

    The South African-based fintech startup that offers the cheapest cross border money transfer rates into key African countries and now into India, has introduced the easiest online registration process using its app – taking a photo and a selfie. This is a first in South Africa and is approved by the Financial Intelligence Centre and the SA Reserve Bank. Mama Money co-founder, Raphael Grojnowski (pictured above, right), explains: “To register, you simply download the Mama Money Family App from the Google Play store, enter you contact details, take a photo of your passport or ID and a selfie holding the document. This is...

  • FinChatBot to improve customer service, reduce costs for financial services

    If you’ve had enough of being put on hold, speaking to call centres in India or waiting for that promised call back on your query from people who never call back, you are probably ready for a chatbot. Chatbots have arrived in South Africa and are kicking off in financial services. Chatbots are life like text based online conversations to connect businesses with their customers. These conversations are possible on websites, Facebook messenger or on apps. They are intelligent conversations made possible through artificial intelligence and machine learning. If you think spending 45 minutes on the phone is absurd to take...

  • AlphaCode makes fourth investment, in Luno an international bitcoin platform

    South African bitcoin trading platform Luno today (19 September 2017) announced its expansion into 35 new markets across Europe, and the conclusion of a R120-million Series B funding round, led by London-based Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s leading venture capital firms. Rand Merchant Investments, through its fintech investment arm, AlphaCode, and existing investors Digital Currency Group also participated in the round. This follows Luno’s R60m Series A round, which was led by emerging market tech giant Naspers. To date, AlphaCode has invested in Prodigy Finance (August 2017), Entersekt (June 2017) and Merchant Capital (June 2016). Luno is one of the world’s most popular Bitcoin platforms, making it easy for people to buy, sell and learn about digital...

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