Yesterday, at the virtual demo day of the AlphaCode Incubate program, four South African startups secured additional funding of ZAR500,000 (US$35,000) each, including other non-monetary benefits as they advance into the second stage of the program.
At the demo day pitch, each of the 10 startups was given 5 minutes to convince a panel of judges on why they should be part of the second phase of the program.
The 10 startups, which have just completed a three-month program, competed for one of four places in an extended 6-month program valued at almost R1.5-million each. Their success, which was validated by their ability to get traction in a short time, unlocks further funding of R500 000 each and tailored business support.
The four startups that were selected to advance to the next stage include AgriCool, an e-marketplace that links smallholding farmers and buyers to a fair and reliable market; Bento, an innovative employee perks and benefits platform; Imfuyo Technologies, a smart farming solution that gives livestock farmers better oversight of their operations at viable cost points; and MatchKit, a startup that helps athletes better commercialize their careers.
In addition, these startups will be able to apply for seed capital from AlphaCode’s fund that invests in early-stage startups.
Approximately 200 fintech businesses applied for the first stage of AlphaCode’s Incubate program which aims to grow innovative financial services entrepreneurs and find the next big startup to come out of South Africa.
Out of that number, only ten were selected to compete in the initial three-month program that provided funding, guidance from performance coaches and a panel of advisory experts, access to AlphaCode’s co-working space, and opportunities to apply for further early-stage investment.
Commenting on the demo day pitch, Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode and a Rand Merchant Investments Holdings (RMI) executive said “We have been very impressed with the level of the drive of these ten startups who applied what they have learned on the AlphaCode Incubate program as they focused on increased traction. The standard of these ideas gets better every year. It’s been a very intense time for the participants and we look forward to growing the four businesses.”
In his remarks, Andile Maseko, head of ecosystem development at AlphaCode stated that “Despite a tumultuous year, a number of entrepreneurs saw how they could fill a gap in the market for financial services and related industries. Those selected in the top four earned the opportunity for further funding and mentorship. The first part of the intensive program focused on entrepreneurship and refining business models. The second phase will focus on revenue generation.”
Since it was established, the AlphaCode Incubate program has disbursed about R32 million in funding to 31 black-owned financial services businesses over the last five years and is regarded as the most prestigious fintech startup initiative in South Africa.