AlphaCode, Merrill Lynch South Africa award 6 financial innovators R4m

Six startups were awarded a total of R4-million during a BEE pitching event at the recently launched fintech hub, AlphaCode, in collaboration with Merrill Lynch South Africa.

A total of 11 startups pitched at the event, where R1-million was awarded to machine-learning hub iSazi Consulting and distribution innovator Lakheni. A further R500 000 to four others in enterprise development funding.

Since its launch in September 2015, AlphaCode has attracted 32 gold members, providing them with access to the AlphaCode workspace in Sandton, mentorship, facilitated networking opportunities and exposure to the RMIH investment team and portfolio companies.

Read more: Sw7, AlphaCode debut fintech accelerator for high-growth businesses

Senior investment executive at RMIH, Dominique Collett, pointed out that the financial services firm is proud to be supporting four of the six awarded businesses. “This is a reflection of our commitment to providing meaningful engagement, networking and development opportunities aimed at transforming the financial services industry,” she said in a recent press release.

The winning businesses are:

Isazi Consulting is touted as a machine-learning hub using creative thinking, maths and artificial intelligence to solve some of South Africa’s toughest problems. Employing a range of talented individuals, the company competes on a global scale with other analytics giants, adding value to their customers’ businesses.

The Lakheni Group is a social enterprise that helps low-income communities combine their purchasing power to gain access to discounted non-perishable grocery items. The company is changing local distribution channels by including spaza shops and early childhood development centres, or crèches, into the mix.

Founded by Caskey Ndaba, Decorum is a newly established financial services business that is using its innovative product development and sales know how to tap into stokvels, affinity groups and unions to assist in formalising the informal financial services market.

Spearheaded by Zola Twasa and Bukelwa Buko, Jade Capital Partners is a female-led investment holding company focused on direct property investments in the commercial and affordable housing and property services space.

Bright On Capital has developed an alternative enterprise lending platform that serves as a marketplace which enables small businesses to raise funding directly from a wide range of lenders (eg DFIs, public pension funds, corporate enterprise development and small business fund managers) by allowing registered small businesses to place the invoices they are looking to finance onto the platform and inviting lenders to compete for the opportunity to fund the invoice.

Livestock Wealth, founded by Ntuthuko Shezi, is a crowd-farming mobile-based platform giving people the opportunity to invest in cattle within a professionally managed farming operation, and to earn dividends from the sale of offspring. Eight cows were sold on the platform within 48 hours of launching which talks to the fact that this business merges traditional South African values with a sound investment proposition.



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