From Soweto to the vanguard of tech

Percy Maphologela. Image: Supplied.

Percy Maphologela. Image: Supplied.

Published Jun 30, 2024


Born and raised in the vibrant community of Soweto, Percy Maphologela's journey from a disadvantaged background to becoming the 24-year-old founder and chief executive of a revolutionary fintech firm, is nothing short of inspirational.

Maphologela's groundbreaking fintech business stands at the forefront of innovation and harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI), asset tokenisation and decentralised finance (DeFi).

Maphologela’s story is rooted in the unwavering encouragement he got from his mother, Lebogang Maphologela.

With both an honours and master’s degree in human resources, his mother instilled in Maphologela the value of hard work, resilience and the importance of education from an early age.

Spanning a career at both Vodacom and Masana Technologies, it was she who introduced him to technology, sparking a passion that would drive him to later defy all odds.

While training in ALX’s software engineering programme, Maphologela recently launched EquiXToken Capital.

Working in the supply chain sector, he noticed inefficiencies and challenges, and wanted to find an innovative way of solving these problems for organisations.

After some research he fell down the digital rabbit hole, discovering how technologies such as AI and blockchain were radically re-imagining the financial sector.

After his grandmother died, Maphologela’s mother experienced many challenges with the costly and complex process of transferring assets into her name.

He described this as a very difficult time and an unaffordable burden for their family.

“It was then that I realised blockchain technology is a smart route to reducing costs for asset owners and investors, and decided to focus my efforts on creating a solution. I knew I didn’t have the skills I needed to make this happen, and affordability was a challenge, so I applied for ALX’s fully sponsored software engineering training course. I wanted to build a solution on my own and this course was the perfect solution,” Maphologela said.

After completing the software engineering programme, Maphologela found out that ALX offered a Founder Academy Programme through their ALX Ventures Programme.

He applied for this, where he would learn the skills needed to refine his business idea, making it more realistic and more achievable.

These skills enabled Maphologela to start EquiXToken Capital, a solution designed specifically for the management of assets within the financial environment, providing owners and investors with a far more affordable and accessible route.

“I am lucky to say that my solution is ground-breaking, one of the first of its kind, and I have recently been selected as one of only 23 companies to take part in the ALX Ventures Accelerator Programme. Through various workshops, I’ve developed my skills across sales, pitching, leadership and growing revenue. I have also refined my pitch, making it more attractive for investors, and I feel I now have the tools I need to grow a thriving business,” he further said.

He was one of seven finalists selected to pitch at Africa Tech Week 2024, a two-day summit that focuses on educating South Africa and other African countries around the challenges and opportunities within technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). While Maphologela didn’t win, he did learn an invaluable lesson.

“My business was showcased to global companies such as Meta, Google, Topco and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which was quite an experience for a first-timer. The judges said I had a ground-breaking solution and applauded me for the work I’ve done, which is amazing considering my business is in the very early stages of development.”

EquiXToken Capital has been nominated in three categories at the African Start-Up Awards as part of the Global Startup Awards, the world’s largest independent startup ecosystem competition. The nominations include Youth Start-Up of the Year, Best Newcomer, and FinTech Start-Up of the Year.

“I’ve had to navigate my way into the right spaces, talk to the right people and work incredibly hard to get where I am today. I didn’t want to end up another statistic, I wanted to make a difference and build a business that changes people’s lives, and I am blessed to be on that road today,” he further said.