AlphaCode awards R16m in grants, support services to eight black-owned SA fintechs

Featured image: Winners of the AlphaCode Incubate programme (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 AlphaCode Incubate initiative, in partnership with Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, aims to identify SA fintech entrepreneurs with ideas and businesses that have the ability to change the financial services industry.

Alphacode said in a statement today that more than 200 startups applied to participate in the 12-month programme. Of these, 12 were selected to the final pitch event, held last night in Sandton where the eight recipients were selected.

Each of the eight startups will receive R1-million in grant funding and R1-million in support services.

More than 200 startups applied to participate in the AlphaCode Incubate initiative

This includes 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 network of potential clients and capital.

The startups were selected by a judging panel that included Discovery co-founder and Vitality CEO Barry Swartzberg, OUTsurance CEO Danie Mathee, Firstrand COO Mary Vilakazi, Royal Bafokeng Holdings account investment manager Katlego Kobue, Remgro investments executive Raymond Ndlovu and AlphaCode head Dominique Collett.

All eight startups are under two years old and are at least 51% owned by black South Africans. The eight are:

Mari (Lebogang Miya, Anesu Chogugudza, Tawanda Sibanda): The startup’s platform allows customers to make a lay-by purchase without incurring the cost of travelling to and from the store to make payments. Users are also able to create credit scores for themselves, without needing to have a bank account.

Spoon Money (Nicolette Swartz, Lorna McLaren): Group-based micro-working capital finance platform for female informal traders.

IsiDuli (Lunga Nodliwa, Kobela Matemane): This startup has a credit product that helps develop the market for backyard rental stock in townships.

Budgie (Nchila Mokoena, Popo Sechele, Thulo Sechele, Ruben Engelbrecht): Budgie is a free interactive application, that facilitates and assists spending based on a user’s created budget.

Oyi Medical Card (Tamsanqa Ngalo): Payments technology integrated into prepaid card for restricted medical spend only. Oyi’s prepaid card solution aims to help those who would otherwise not be able to access the medical care that they should be able to afford. (Thabang Butelezi): This startup has an on demand vehicle insurance specifically targeted at out of warranty vehicle owners. claims it reduces accident repair costs by more than 50% and cuts fraud claims by 75%. It offers customers added value through vehicle data analytics to prevent mechanical failures and more.

Olova (Sylvester Maganye): Olova offers a single payment platform for public transport systems. The lack of integration and inter-operability between public transport systems is problematic and this what Olova aims to fix.

GetVanced (Raeesa Gabriels, Brendon Harris): The startup offers an income advancing platform based on employee’s earned income. GetVanced seeks to solve the issue of income timing by paying out employee advances based on income earned to date.

R21m disbursed to 23 fintechs in four years

AlphaCode said in the same statement today that its Incubate programme has disbursed R21-million in funding to 23 black-owned fintechs since it began four years ago.

She added that AlphaCode has seen an increase in the number of female-led startups applying for this year’s programme, with four female co-founded startups in the top 12 and three in the final six.

There had been a notable improvement in the quality of applications year on year, she said, adding that this is indicative that AlphaCode is making an impact in the maturing of the fintech ecosystem.

Said Collett: “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”.

Featured image: Winners of the AlphaCode Incubate programme (Supplied)



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