Eight black-owned fintechs win R16m worth of funding, support from AlphaCode

Featured image: The founders of the eight winning startups (Supplied)
Featured image: The founders of the eight winning startups (Supplied)

Eight black-owned fintech startups have won business support and funding totalling R16-million from Rand Merchant Investment Holdings’ (RMI) fintech incubator AlphaCode.

The eight — which include SELFsureAkiba Digital, the ISpani GroupJamiiNisa FinancePagoProspa and Yalu (see their respective pitch videos below) — were selected last night (18 October) as winners of the AlphaCode Incubate initiative following a pitching session.

The 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 — run in partnership with Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings — aims to identify SA fintech entrepreneurs with that can impact the financial services industry.

More than 200 startups applied to participate in the AlphaCode Incubate initiative, of these 16 made it to the final pitch event

Since its launch three years ago, the programme has disbursed R13-million in funding to 15 black-owned financial services businesses.

In a statement today (19 October) AlphaCode head and RMI senior investments executive Dominique Collett said a number of the programme participants have experienced “exponential growth” since receiving support from the initiative.

She added that the incubator has been “amazed” at the level of traction they have received locally and internationally.

“The intention behind AlphaCode’s Explore, Incubate and Accelerate programmes is for RMI to discover the next OUTsurance or Discovery; we want to identify, partner and grow the future of financial services in South Africa,” said Collett.

During the event, contestants had just three minutes to pitch their businesses, with a couple of minutes set aside for questions from a panel of judges.

These included: Sigma Capital CEO Phuti Mahanyele, Remgro investment executive Raymond Ndlovu, Royal Bafokeng Holdings finance director Nakedi Ramaphakela, Merrill Lynch South Africa managing director for investment banking Anthony Knox, as well as Collett.

More than 200 startups applied to participate. Of these, 16 made it to the final pitch event — held last night in Sandton — where the eight recipients were selected.

The eight winning startups and their founders are:

Akiba Digital (Tebogo Mokwena and Kamogelo Kekana): The startup offers a gamified app that makes it easier and more rewarding to set, manage and meet savings goals.

ISpani Group (Prince Nwadeyi, Khathazile Moroe, Patrick Machekera and Louis Buys): This startup provides access for insurers into under-insured communities through prepaid voucher sold by a network of spaza shops.

Jamii (Adrian Taylor, Marc Maasdorp and Bartek Dutkowski): Jamii de-risks tenant rent default by offering tenants incentive-based discounts on food and transport and bolt-on retrenchment cover.

Nisa Finance (Thando Hlongwane, Tekane Ledimo and Sinqobile Mashalaba): Nisa Finance is an invoice financing platform that enables financiers to issue invoice-backed loans to small businesses quickly and affordably.

Pago (Philip Mngadi and Noel Lynch): The startup offers a mobile micro payments platform for the informal sector. The startup aims to enable an inclusive economy by digitising remittances through the use of blockchain technology.

Prospa (Dhanyal Davidson and Carl Ngwenya): Prospa is a mobile savings wallet for low-income South Africans that makes it easy to save small amounts infrequently using prepaid vouchers.

SELFsure (Proud Chitumba, Amos Mugova and Tshepiso Shamane): This startup enables millennials to significantly reduce car insurance premiums by self-insuring part of the risk via peer-to-peer lending.

Yalu (Nkazi Sokhulu, Tlalane Ntuli, Steve Goeieman and Life Mhlanga): Yalu is a self-service credit life insurance platform which replaces a customer’s current policy with a more affordable, simpler and rewarding policy.

Featured image: The founders of the eight winning startups (Supplied)



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