SA fintech startups awarded $350k at AlphaCode event

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South African fintech startups were awarded a total of ZAR5 million (US$350,000) at a pitching event hosted by Johannesburg-based fintech hub AlphaCode earlier this week.

The event at AlphaCode saw five black-owned South African fintech startups each walk away with ZAR1 million (US$69,000) in funding from Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings.

The Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) aimed to identify and reward high potential South African fintech entrepreneurs to catalyse the development of fintech in the country.

Merrill Lynch South Africa awarded funding to to online invoice selling marketplace E-factor, payment and commercial credit startup Imafin, credit application platform Invoiceworx, and stokvel management solution Stokfella.

Heritage Capital Partners, which seeks to invest growth capital into small to medium sized companies, was the fifth winner, receiving ZAR1 million courtesy of Royal Bafokeng Holdings.

During the event, 11 contestants had five minutes to pitch their businesses to judges including Rand Merchant Investments senior investment executive Dominique Collett, Merrill Lynch South Africa chief executive officer (CEO) Richard Gush,Royal Bafokeng Holdings CEO Albertina Kekana and Sonja Sebotsa, principle partner at Identity Partners.

“The winning businesses were selected because of their ability to meet our judging criteria which included their pricing and revenue-generating models and how delivery and implementation would occur,” Collett said.

Gush said South Africa had the potential to become a fintech centre of excellence as it has an incredibly advanced financial services infrastructure.

“This provides an empowering context for emerging fintech entrepreneurs and financial technology innovators to develop solutions that meet the needs of different communities, many of whom have previously had little access to safe and reliable financial services,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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