8 SA fintech startups share $1m worth in funding, support from AlphaCode

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Eight South African fintech startups have secured a share of ZAR16 million (US$1 million) in grant funding and support services after being selected for the AlphaCode Incubate programme.

AlphaCode is the Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI) incubation, acceleration and investment vehicle that identifies, partners and grows early stage financial service ventures, which each year selects eight disruptive financial services startups for its Incubate programme.

The year-long startup support initiative, run in partnership with RMI, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, has just selected its latest batch of companies, each of which will receive a package valued at ZAR2 million (US$130,000), including ZAR1 million (US$65,000) in grant funding and the same value in support services.  

These services, delivered over a period of 12 months, include mentorship, monthly expert-led sessions, exclusive office space in Sandton, marketing, legal and other business support services as well as access to like-minded entrepreneurs, RMI’s extensive network of thought leaders, potential clients and capital.

The selected startups were chosen from 200 applicants, and include layby platform Mari, micro-working capital startup Spoon Money, credit product IsiDuli, and health insurance payments service Oyi Medical Card.

The cohort is completed by budgeting tool Budgie, vehicle insurance platform okGo.live, public transport payments application Olova, and income advancing platform GetVanced. The startups were selected after 12 finalists pitched at an event in front of a panel of judges that includes Discovery co-founder Barry Swartzberg and OUTsurance chief executive officer (CEO) Danie Mathee.

Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode, said the programme had seen a notable improvement in the quality of applications year-on-year, which she said demonstrated AlphaCode was making an impact in the maturing of the fintech ecosystem. 

“The intention behind AlphaCode’s Explore, Incubate and Accelerate programmes is for RMI to discover the next OUTsurance or Discovery; we want to identify, partner and grow the future of financial services in South Africa. In fact, two of the participants this evening came through our Explore programme,” said Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode.

“We have seen an increase in the number of female-led startups applying for this year’s programme – there are four female co-founded startups in the top 12 and three in the final six. There was also a stronger focus this year on alternative forms of lending.”

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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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