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AlphaCode awards R16 million to 8 fintech startups through startup programme

The winners of the AlphaCode startup programme. Photo: Supplied

The winners of the AlphaCode startup programme. Photo: Supplied

Published Aug 17, 2019


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

All businesses are under two years old and at least 51 percent owned by black South Africans.

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Each business will receive a package valued at up to R2 million including R1 million in grant funding and R1 million in support services including mentorship, monthly expert-led sessions, exclusive office space in Sandton and other business support services. They will also have access to like-minded entrepreneurs, RMI’s extensive network of thought leaders, potential clients and capital.

The AlphaCode Incubate initiative, in partnership with Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, identifies South African financial services entrepreneurs with extraordinary ideas and businesses that could impact the financial services industry. 

The winners are:


A digitised layby platform which allows for digital payments and savings. Customers should be able to make a layby purchase without incurring the cost of travelling to and from the store to make payments. 

Founders: Lebogang Miya. Anesu Chogugudza and Tawanda Sibanda.

Spoon Money

A group-based micro-working capital finance platform for female informal traders. 

Founders: *Nicolette Swart and Lorna McLaren

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Credit product for the development of backyard rental stock in townships. 

Founders: Lunga Nodliwa and *Kobela Matemane

Oyi Medical Card

Oyi is a prepaid card solution to help those who would otherwise not be able to access the medical care that they should be able to afford.

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Founder: Tamsanqa Ngalo


Budgie is a free interactive application, that facilitates and assists spending based on a user’s created budget. 

Founders: Nchila Mokoena, Popo Sechele, Thulo Sechele and Ruben Engelbrecht

Story continues below Advertisement gives access to people who are locked out of the market by reducing accident repair costs by +50 percent, reducing fraud claims by 75 percent and making customers self-service to lower premiums.

Founder: Thabang Butelezi


Olova offers a single payment platform for public transport systems. The lack of integration and interoperability between public transport systems is problematic and this what Olova aims to fix.

Founder: Sylvester Maganye


Income advancing platform based on employee’s earned income. GetVanced seeks to solve the issue of income timing by paying out employee advances based on income earned to date.

Founders: *Raeesa Gabriels and Brendon Harris

The Incubate programme has disbursed R21 million in funding to 23 black-owned financial services businesses since it began four years ago. 

"We have seen a notable improvement in the quality of applications year on year. This is indicative that AlphaCode is 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.

She added, "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". 

During the event, contestants had just three minutes to pitch their businesses, with a couple of minutes set aside for questions from a top panel of judges. 

"With the support networks that these eight businesses are now able to access, there is great expectation for their business development and traction over the 12 months of the programme," concluded Andile Maseko, Head of Ecosystem Development at AlphaCode.


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