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AlphaCode awards SA proptech startup Jamii Cities R450k grant

Featured image left to right: Jamii Cities co-founders Adrian Taylor and Marc Maasdorp (Supplied)

Johannesburg-based proptech startup Jamii Cities has been awarded a R450 000 grant by Rand Merchant Investment Holdings’ (RMI) fintech incubator AlphaCode.

Jamii Cities connects tenants to landlords with safe and affordable rental apartments in prime location in the Johannesburg central business district. It was founded last year by Adrian Taylor, Marc Maasdorp and Bartek Dutkowski.

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The startup also rewards tenants for good financial behaviour related to rental payments, which incentivises a longer stay in Jamii Cities partner portfolio properties.

Jamii Cities was part of the 2018/2019 cohort of AlphaCode’s Incubate programme

AlphaCode said in a statement today that Jamii Cities was awarded the grant at a demo day held on 23 October.

The event was the culmination AlphaCode’s year-long Incubate 2018/2019 programme which Jamii Cities was part of together with seven other startups, namely SELFsureAkiba Digital, the ISpani GroupNisa FinancePagoProspa and Yalu.

As part of the programme, AlphaCode provided each of the eight startups with R1-million in grant funding and R1-million in support. This included 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 (see this story).

AlphaCode said at the demo day, half of the startups in the cohort had “positively pivoted” their initial offerings after applying principles learnt and guidance from their mentors.

The eight pitched in front of a panel that included AlphaCode Incubate senior mentor Tanye ver Loren van Themaat, Investment Banking at BofA Securities managing director Anthony Knox, Royal Bafokeng Holdings investment manager Katlego Kobue and RMI junior investment executive Nimalan Reddy.

‘Scalable, defensible business model’

AlphaCode said the panel described Jamii Cities as having a scalable and defensible business model which could grow exponentially over the next few years.

Taylor (picture above, left with Maadsorp), who contemplated doing an MBA before joining the programme, said he’d gained “much more” through the experience.

“I have built a network, got great advice, was pushed hard to do better and had my ideas challenged to produce the best results. I highly recommend the AlphaCode Incubate experience,” he added.

AlphaCode head of ecosystem development Andile Maseko said the incubator is helping to build a pipeline for SA’s investment community in the fintech space, particularly for angel investors who are ready to invest in and support these black-owned startups.

“Events like this also show the impact we’re making, through AlphaCode, in the maturing of the fintech ecosystem.

“We supersized the programme this past year and will also continue to mentor the stronger businesses that have been part of this cohort. We believe the next Discovery or OUTsurance will come through entrepreneurs who we partner with in this way,” added Maseko.

Featured image left to right: Jamii Cities co-founders Adrian Taylor and Marc Maasdorp (Supplied)

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