Almost 200 fintech businesses applied for the AlphaCode Incubate programme which aims to grow innovative financial services entrepreneurs and find the next OUTsurance or Discovery. Ten have been selected for a development programme that provides funding, guidance from performance coaches and a panel of advisory experts, access to AlphaCode’s co-working space and opportunities to apply for further early-stage investment.
The 12-week intensive pre-incubation programme is valued at R500 000, including R150 000 in grant funding for each participant. This jump-start programme has just begun and focuses on achieving a viable business. It culminates in a demo day, where participants will compete for a place in a 6-month step-up programme. Step-up offers grant funding of R500 000 for each startup and intensive incubation focused on achieving both product-market fit and financial viability. The value of this entrepreneurial package is almost R1 500 000 for each startup. In addition, startups will be able to apply for seed capital from AlphaCode’s fund that invests in early-stage startups.
“We are delighted by the quality of the applications for our programme. We have selected a diverse cohort (good mix of gender, age and race) and we look forward to supporting these disruptive, early-stage businesses with pioneering ideas so that they can make a meaningful impact in the financial services industry,” says Andile Maseko, head of ecosystem development at AlphaCode.
The ten businesses
Bento is an out-of-the-box employee perks and benefits platform. It gives employers a simple and cost-effective solution to offer employee benefits without the cost and administrative burden. Employees are empowered to self-manage their benefits and perks which gives them freedom of choice over their remuneration structure and take-home pay. Co-founders: Claudia Snyman, Dennis Williams, Bryn Divey and Ross Horak.
Mapha buys and delivers goods from any local store in your area within two hours. Mapha’s service delivers any retail item and affords the option of buying from multiple stores in one trip. In addition, daily courier services are offered. Mapha creates payment solutions for small businesses that would like to integrate delivery services. The business has expanded into Tembisa and Alexandra to penetrate the township economy, which hasn't had on-demand delivery services. Co-founders: Loyiso Vatsha, Tshidiso Vatsha, Noble Nyoni and Lesego Mokou.
OysterPay is a digital banking platform for gig workers who are largely overlooked by traditional financial institutions. It offers a prepaid debit card and mobile app that helps these workers get paid, save, and borrow. OysterPay’s data science approach builds highly personalised offerings, particularly in savings and digital lending, that promotes financial security and inclusion for all gig workers. Co-founders: Scelo Makhathini and Atif Muhammad.
Melon is the easiest way to invest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. With lightning-fast purchases and a simple user interface, Melon makes buying Bitcoin as effortless as shopping online. In just a few clicks, customers will be able to add an investment amount to their cart, pay using card or instant EFT, and access savings products in one convenient location. No waiting for deposits, and no complicated trading interface. Co-founders: Kreaan Singh and Alex Coetzee.
AgriCool is an e-marketplace that links smallholding farmers and buyers to a fair and reliable market. It offers farmers access to finance, reliable information on improving their production and it works with both formal and informal markets. Street vendors can get fresh produce delivered, saving them transportation costs. Founder: Zamokuhle Thwala.
Imfuyo Technologies is developing a smart farming solution that will give livestock farmers better oversight of their operations at viable cost points. The initial offering will consist of a smart tracker that will collect critical data about cattle location and behaviour. The data is analysed to enable farmers to optimise farming activities. The platform will also serve as a de facto cattle deeds office, providing better traceability across the beef production value chain. Through Imfuyo Technologies, livestock farmers also have better access to financial markets. Founder: Allasandro Da Gama
MatchKit.co helps athletes better commercialise their careers. The platform helps athletes make money, regardless of the status of sporting events. It integrates into existing social media channels and stats to showcase the value of an athlete’s digital audience to potential sponsors. It also offers a plug and play e-commerce store where fans can purchase everything from bespoke branded merchandise to personalised video and audio shout-outs. MatchKit.co plans to add insurtech and transactional / virtual card capabilities to the offering. Founders: Mike Sharman, Shaka Sisulu, Bryan Habana and Ben Karpinski.
Varibill is a billing and revenue management tool, ideal for providers of usage-based products and services. Varibill provides specialised software plug-ins, called source collectors, that interrogate various disparate sources or devices and then translates the usage data into billing data. It connects the sources of usage with a company’s existing accounting system. Varibill is a business model enabler for businesses that recurring, variable billing needs with benefits including accurate timely invoices; improved profitability; and reduction in revenue leakage. Founder: Leon Kelder.
Chama Money enables stokvels to operate online in an easy, safe and transparent way whilst giving them access to retail, insurance, and financial products from trusted providers. The platform has automated processes like bookkeeping, accounting and payments. Co-founder: Palesa Lengolo.
DentX is a machine learning platform for vehicle damage repair pricing that empowers vehicle or fleet owners with data for competitive quotations. The DentX machine learning platform connects real-time aggregation of approved service providers with machine learning to give more accurate estimations per line item. This offers the consumer cost control, repair service quality assessments, immutable damage records, and no room for monopolies or collusion. Co-founders: Jonathan Kojo Asiamah and Nolo Mokoena.
The Incubate programme has disbursed R30 million in funding to 31 black-owned financial services businesses over the past five years and is viewed as South Africa’s most prestigious fintech startup initiative. Incubate awards entrepreneurial packages to South Africa’s most promising financial services startups through AlphaCode with the support of Royal Bafokeng Holdings.