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  • Fintech business pays hosts in advance for Airbnb bookings

    Further disruption in South Africa’s accommodation and property letting sector is on the cards as AirAdvance, a fintech startup, provides those offering private accommodation through Airbnb easy access to affordable finance. It uses a confirmed Airbnb booking as collateral for a cash advance. Founder of AirAdvance, Jozette Chetwynd-Palmer (pictured above), says, "Using Airbnb to generate revenue is growing rapidly in South Africa as it joins the rest of the world in the sharing economy. In fact, last year, Airbnb stats show that South Africans hosted over 830 000 guests in their homes." Findings released during Airbnb’s Africa Travel Summit found that...

  • SA fintech Akiba Digital launches fun savings app for SA millennials

    Financial literacy remains a barrier for the youth. There is currently no platform that offers financial insights and proactively empowers or educates millennials about personal financial issues such as credit, lending, savings and investments. As a result, an increased number of millennials struggle to meet their financial goals as they are not equipped with adequate knowledge to make good financial decisions. Some of the reasons why millennials aren’t saving effectively include fragmented financial literacy, inconvenient channels to access financial products, complex financial product language, low affordability and accessibility to financial advisors and planners. Enter Akiba. Akiba is working towards becoming a data-driven...

  • AlphaCode awards R16m in support, funding to eight promising fintechs

    Last night (18 October), Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI), through AlphaCode, awarded entrepreneurial packages valued at R16-million to eight of South Africa’s most promising financial services startups. The entrepreneurial packages consist of R1-million in grant funding and R1-million in support, which includes mentorship, monthly expert-led sessions, exclusive office space in Sandton, marketing, legal and other business support services as well as access to the broader RMI network. The AlphaCode Incubate initiative, in partnership with Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, identifies South African financial services entrepreneurs with extraordinary ideas and businesses that could impact the financial services industry. More than...

  • School payments app Karri expands offering to organisations needing to collect funds

    The Karri app, launched in April last year, has grown to just under 300 South African schools driven by parent and teacher demand for a solution to school payments. Due to the success of this collections platform, Karri has expanded its offering to include collections for just about any purpose or organisation that wants to collect from its members. Doug Hoernle (pictured above), the founder of Karri, explains,"Karri has provided a phenomenal solution to any school collecting funds for school outings, tours, civvies days and school fees. Instead of parents sending envelopes full of cash to their school, they can...

  • What the fintech revolution means for financial inclusion

    From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to blockchain, emerging technology is quickly changing both how we think about finance and how we access it. Fintech is rapidly innovating, and with a growing number of predictions about what it will mean for the future of business, company owners and entrepreneurs are taking note. The funding problem While 2017 saw a surge in the emergence of new fintech startups, 2018 has brought about a maturing in the market as these products roll out and become more widely adopted across industries. They have become particularly impactful for small-to-medium sized businesses and startups, where technology is helping...

  • Why more entrepreneurs are investing in understanding AI

    Whether you’re wary of the disruption that Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings or you’re embracing it, there’s no avoiding the impact it’s expected to have on businesses in the coming years. Not only has AI been proven to speed-up processes and streamline operations, but it also has great potential for customer experience, product development, sales, and business intelligence – improving the bottom line for companies both big and small. In fact, PwC estimates that by 2030, artificial intelligence alone could add a total of $15.7-trillion to global GDP. Below are just some of the ways AI could influence how we do business, now...

  • Explore Data Science Academy, Alphacode seeks aspiring SA fintech entrepreneurs

    Do you have an idea that could make you South Africa’s most successful fintech entrepreneur? Are you looking to acquire the skills to launch a data-driven fintech business? Then Explore 10X is looking for you. The Explore Data Science Academy (Edsa) and Rand Merchant Investments (RMI) fintech division, AlphaCode, have announced a 12-month data science and business skills programme for 20 aspirant South African future fintech entrepreneurs. Successful candidates will go through an intensive six-month data science-training programme, where they will learn how to design a 10X business along with the core digital skills needed to build a fintech organisation. This...

  • How blockchain is enabling entrepreneurship

    Perhaps one of the most exciting technologies influencing the world of business today is blockchain. Thanks to its growing applications, more entrepreneurs than ever are exploring this new technology as a solution for everything from raising funds to creating contracts. According to a disruptive tech survey conducted earlier this year by GetSmarter, a brand of 2U, Inc., four in five business leaders believe that emerging technology will continue to disrupt their industry to a high degree in the coming years. And with all the ways that blockchain is already impacting business, and startups in particular, it’s not surprising why. Here are...

  • Technology is shifting the state of ‘pay’ in the restaurant and retail space

    South Africa is primarily a cash-driven society with more than 60% of all transactions conducted in cash, rising as high as 90% in rural and peri-rural areas. However, with the number of cards in circulation growing, an opportunity exists to increase electronic payments. Innovation in payment options is driven by convenience and card payments have evolved from zip zap machines to electronic terminals. We have experienced trust or security improvements with the introduction of EMV (chip and PIN cards) and in more recent years we have seen the use of QR Codes as a method of payment change the purchase...

  • Four top fintech businesses selected for AlphaCode’s R2.5m scale-up programme

    Four businesses that are shaking up financial services have been named as finalists in AlphaCode’s recently launched accelerator programme, AlphaCode Accelerate. AlphaCode is Rand Merchant Investment Holding’s (RMI) incubation, acceleration and investment vehicle that identifies, partners and grows early-stage financial service ventures. AlphaCode was founded to seek the next OUTsurance or Discovery. The first four fintech businesses selected for the AlphaCode Accelerator programme are: Entersekt, Livestock Wealth, Click2Sure and Invoice Worx. AlphaCode has partnered with scale-up accelerator 10X-e to provide a R2.5-million programme offering mentorship, expert guidance and support services to help these businesses on the path to scale and job creation. Dominique...

  • AlphaCode seeks next OUTsurance or Discovery, offering R16m in support

    AlphaCode, an initiative of Rand Merchant Investments (RMI), has set aside R16-million to identify a new generation of financial services entrepreneurs through its AlphaCode Incubate initiative. Explains Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode and RMI senior investments executive,"The RMI board believes it is important to identify, partner and grow the next generation of financial services entrepreneurs so that the group can continue its legacy of innovation with businesses like Discovery, OUTsurance, MMI and FirstRand. "Because the South African financial services landscape is changing rapidly due to the rise of new technology, dynamic regulatory environment, increased cyber security risks and a different type...

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