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MMI, the financial services group, has announced that it’s setting up a new unit to hunt out innovative entrepreneurs.
The new unit, called Exponential, will focus on potentially disruptive innovation opportunities around financial wellness globally and domestically in South Africa.
Exponential is headed up from the UK by Jaco Oosthuizen, previously in charge of MMI’s loyalty and rewards programme, Multiply. In total, Exponential comprises four members, with two of them located in South Africa and the other two in the United Kingdom.
“Entrepreneurship is driving ongoing technological advances and changes in consumer behaviour are making it easier for innovative new business solutions to be brought into the marketplace,” says Oosthuizen. “Exponential will identify and develop new business models showing the potential to fundamentally disrupt the insurance market space”.
According to Oosthuizen, the new unit’s aim is to “harness the entrepreneurial ecosystem to leverage powerful new technologies and business models to bring about an exponential leap towards universal financial wellness”.
Exponential has partnered with Anthemis Group, a United Kingdom based venture investment and advisory firm, to leverage its experience and network to help drive the process of finding, investing in and growing innovative tech-driven start-up companies that have the potential to disrupt the insurance market space.
According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, an investment partnership agreement is also being finalised for the South African market and an announcement will follow soon.
“Exponential looks forward to uncovering and supporting those start-ups and initiatives that have the potential to be scaled up not only in the local SA market but also in other African countries where MMI operates,” says Jonathan Stewart, Managing Partner for Africa Investments at Exponential. “Together with our investment partners, we shall work closely with entrepreneurs to create maximum value, sustainability and thriving businesses that drive the creation of a portfolio of options, some of which we hope may turn out to be the dominant financial wellness players of the future”.
Exponential is also involved in Enterprise Development and is one of the founding members of Tshimologong, a digital technology hub in Johannesburg’s Braamfontein suburb in partnership with Wits University and other corporates. Tshimologong, which means new beginnings in Sesotho, aims to grow skills, create jobs, encourage the establishment of new businesses and promote the regeneration of Johannesburg’s inner-city area.
“We look forward to making great strides in the insurance technology space while we work together with our partners and the entrepreneurs towards creating and building sustainable businesses,” says Oosthuizen.