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Twenty candidates on Explore initiative prepare to pitch for AlphaCode Incubate


Twenty candidates from seven SA startups and developer teams are getting ready to pitch next week for the chance to get into top Joburg accelerator AlphaCode’s Incubate programme.

The AlphaCode Incubate programme, which is aimed at supporting black tech startups, aims to offer at least eight startups each R2-million in support and funding.

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Applications to the general public close on 24 June, after the deadline was extended from 18 June (see this story).

The application deadline won’t apply to the 20 — who are part of Explore, a 12-month initiative run by The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) and AlphaCode (see this story).

AlphaCode’s ecosystem development head Andile Maseko told Ventureburn today that those selected from the 20 Explore participants will be fast tracked to AlphaCode Incubate’s selection day bootcamp which takes place on 1 July.

Those from Explore selected at next week’s pitch will be fast tracked to AlphaCode Incubate’s selection bootcamp

Maseko confirmed that the pitch will take place next week, but said that the exact date for the pitch has yet to be finalised.

Explore, which kicked off in January, aims to take the candidates’ fintech ideas and turn them into viable business models. The programme is offered at no cost to the candidates and includes a stipend to cover major living expenses during the year.

Participant secures client

One of the 20, Palesa Moloi (pictured above), says being part of the programme has already paid off, after organisers of the training put her in contact with a real estate development company which the startup has been able to sign up as a client.

Moloi, who founded Parkupp with Michael Savvides in 2016, could not name the client, but the company is listed on the startup’s platform as having 200 parking bays available in Gauteng.

Parkupp’s platform allows property owners who have vacant parking spots, to list these to make extra income by renting these out to members of the public.

In 2016 the startup landed a R250 000 investment from Dr Sedise Moseneke, a qualified dental surgeon turned into a property entrepreneur.

As part of the programme Moloi, who is a qualified chartered accountant, has among other things had sessions with a business coach and learnt coding languages such as Python and SQL.

‘Key take away creating value’

Another participant, Sylvester Manganye, says a key take away for him from the programme has been on how to create value for your customers and then how to monetise the value that you are creating.

Manganye and Thato Mashabela have developed Olova, a single payment platform for multiple public transport systems.

The cashless system — which the two have yet to launch — aims to allow commuters to pay for fares by operators scanning RFID codes from their smartphones.

Manganye says so far two private bus operators in the North West have expressed an interest in using the platform.

Other ideas that got candidates selected included a peer-to-peer blockchain-based authentication system, a medical platform which enables low income individuals to access quality healthcare in the private sector and a mobile payment app that allows parents to pay their children’s school fees.

Read more: AlphaCode Incubate launches call for black fintech startups to tap R16m in support, funding
Read more: Explore Data Science Academy, Alphacode seeks aspiring SA fintech entrepreneurs

*Correction (19 June): We earlier stated that 20 startups will pitch next week, when it is in fact 20 candidates, from seven startups. We also incorrectly referred to the programme as Explore 10X, when it is simply known as “Explore”. We have corrected this.

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