Monday, December 10Always On-point

8 hot new South African fintech startups to watch

Rand Merchant Investment Holding (RMI), through AlphaCode, has awarded entrepreneurial packages valued at R16 million to eight of South Africa’s most promising financial services startups.

The entrepreneurial 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 packages are part of the AlphaCode Incubate initiative, which is done in partnership with Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings.

The project identifies South African financial services entrepreneurs with extraordinary ideas and businesses that could impact the financial services industry.

More than 200 startups applied to participate. Of these, sixteen made it to final pitch evening and eight recipients were selected. During the event, contestants had just three minutes to pitch their businesses, with a couple of minutes set aside for questions from a panel of judges.

These are the eight winners:

Startup Description
Akiba Digital A gamified mobile app making it easier and more rewarding to set, manage and meet savings goals.
iSpani Group Provides access for insurers into traditionally under insured communities through prepaid vouchers and USSD sold by a network of spaza shop vendors.
Jamii De-risks tenant rent default through 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 SMEs quickly and affordably by fully-automating the application and invoice verification through ERP system integration.
Pago A low cost mobile micro payments platform for the informal sector to enable an inclusive economy by digitising remittances through the use of blockchain technology.
Prospa A mobile savings wallet for low-income earning 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.

According to the group, the programme has disbursed R13 million in funding to 15 black-owned financial services businesses since it began three years ago. Of these, some have experienced exponential growth and gained traction locally and internationally.

“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,” said Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode and a RMI senior investments executive.

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