AlphaCode Incubate launches call for black fintech startups to tap R16m in support, funding

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Are you a black-owned fintech startup looking for business support and funding?

AlphaCode, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings’ (RMI) fintech accelerator, today launched a call for fintech startups that are 51% black-owned to apply to apply to its year-long AlphaCode Incubate, which will offer eight startups each R2-million in support and funding.

Applications close on 18 June.

AlphaCode Incubate is an initiative of Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI), Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Royal Bafokeng Holdings that seeks top applications from startups could disrupt the financial services sector and grow rapidly locally or internationally to create the next Outsurance or Discovery.

The final eight businesses selected will get support valued at R2-million each. This includes R1-million in grant funding and R1-million in support services.

The support services include mentorship, monthly expert-led sessions, exclusive office space in Sandton, marketing, legal and other business support services as well as access to like-minded entrepreneurs, RMI’s extensive network of thought leaders, potential clients and capital.

Eight businesses selected for AlphaCode Incubate will get support valued at R2-million each

Following  the 18 June application deadline, there will be a rigorous selection process involving a business reviews as well as a bootcamp for those shortlisted.

The final shortlist of top 16 applicants will stand a chance to impress a judging panel on 1 August 2019 in order to secure one of the winning programme slots.

Last year more than 200 startups applied.

R21m to 23 black startups

AlphaCode is looking for strong entrepreneurial teams of two or more people with tech or financial services understanding and a business idea or model that they’ve validated a business case for, at least through some potential customer engagements. AlphaCode will also consider whether it can invest in this business over the longer term.

AlphaCode’s ecosystem development head Andile Maseko said in a statement today that while the initial attraction for those entering is the money, previous participants have commented on how they value the top rate mentorship and learnings they get even more.

“We’ve showcased key learning modules such as regulation in financial services, digital marketing basics and growth hacking with speakers from the Reserve Bank and Luno,” said Maseko.

The programme, which began four years ago, has disbursed R21-million in funding to 23 black-owned financial services businesses since its inception.

The winners last year (pictured above) included Yalu, a self-service credit life insurance platform which replaces a customer’s current policy with a more affordable, simpler and rewarding policy and Akiba Digital, a gamified savings tool that allows users to save towards their lifestyle goals and get rewarded for it (see this story).

Past participants praise programme

Jamii Cities founder Adrian Taylor, who is a current participant on the Incubate programme, says the ability to access some of the sharpest minds has challenged his thinking about fintech.

“We’re getting the chance to build our business and learn things that would have taken us years to discover. I would leave a corporate to do the programme — whether you succeed or fail, it will give you perspectives very few jobs can,” says Taylor.

Added Dhanyal Davidson, another participant and founder of Prospa: “An MBA is seen as the pinnacle of academic success and was something I planned to do. The programme with AlphaCode has proven to be something more than that.

“The calibre of the workshop presenters, the advice, the experience of the mentors and the real-time startup lifecycle make for rapid learning on the job,” he said.

Apply for the programme here

Read more: Eight black-owned fintechs win R16m worth of funding, support from AlphaCode
Read more: AlphaCode calls on black-owned fintech startups to apply to programme

Featured image: The founders of the last year’s eight winning startups (Supplied)

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