South African fintech incubation, acceleration and investment vehicle AlphaCode has opened applications for its Incubate programme, which aims to identify and reward high potential, innovative entrepreneurs to boost the development of fintech and financial services.
AlphaCode, which focuses on early-stage financial services businesses and is powered by Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI), is looking for businesses or ideas that could change the face of financial services to apply for AlphaCode Incubate.
Sixteen businesses will be invited to pitch for eight places on the programme, with these final eight startups completing a customised 12-month programme and benefitting from an entrepreneurial package worth ZAR2 million (US$150,000) each. The package consists of ZAR1 million (US$75,000) in grant funding, and another ZAR1 million worth of support including mentorship, monthly expert-led sessions, exclusive office space in Sandton, marketing, legal and other business support services.
In partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, AlphaCode Incubate has disbursed ZAR13 million (US$990,000) to 15 black-owned businesses over the last three years.
“We are raising the level and the rewards this year,” said Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode. “We want to help take courageous entrepreneurs with seriously disruptive financial services business models to the next level.”
AlphaCode is looking for businesses across the financial services spectrum, including payments, insurance, savings and investments, advisory, data analytics and blockchain, and will consider early-stage ideas and businesses not older than two years which are 51 per cent black-owned and managed.
Previous participants of AlphaCode Incubate include Isazi Consulting, a machine learning business which used the funds to build a data visualisation tool and made a 266 per cent return on the investment. Another beneficiary, Livestock Wealth, has been able to attract a global audience. They joined the programme having sold 10 cows and have now sold more than 1 400, and have also been able to attract additional funding.
“AlphaCode identifies, partners and grows next generation financial services entrepreneurs. We take in high potential businesses that we can nurture to prepare them for the next phase of growth. Our aim is to transform them into tomorrow’s market leaders, leveraging our scale and access to capital to help them realise their true potential,” Collett said.
The first round of applications closes August 31, and the programme will begin on November 1.