Rand Merchant Investment Holding (RMI), through their fintech division AlphaCode has awarded entrepreneurial packages valued at R16 million to eight of South Africa’s most promising financial services startups.
The eight were awarded after 16 businesses took part in a pitch event on Thursday night. 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.
Through its Incubate programme, AlphaCode addresses common challenges that financial services startups face. All participants are early stage businesses, under two years old and at least 51 per cent owned by black South Africans. The programme has disbursed (US$900,000) in funding to 15 black-owned financial services businesses since it began three years ago.
More than 200 startups applied to participate. Of these, 16 made it to the final pitch event — held Thursday night in Sandton — where the eight recipients were selected.
The eight winning startups and their founders are:
Akiba Digital – Ofers a gamified app that makes it easier and more rewarding to set, manage and meet savings goals.
ISpani Group -Provides access for insurers into under-insured communities through prepaid voucher sold by a network of spaza shops.
Jamii – De-risks tenant rent default by offering tenants incentive-based discounts on food and transport and bolt-on retrenchment cover.
Nisa Finance– An invoice financing platform that enables financiers to issue invoice-backed loans to small businesses quickly and affordably.
Pago – 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 -A mobile savings wallet for low-income South Africans that makes it easy to save small amounts infrequently using prepaid vouchers.
SELFsure -Enables millennials to significantly reduce car insurance premiums by self-insuring part of the risk via peer-to-peer lending.
Yalu -A self-service credit life insurance platform which replaces a customer’s current policy with a more affordable, simpler and rewarding policy.