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AlphaCode gives start-ups chance to bag R1.5m

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Amina Patterson, head of incubation at AlphaCode.
Amina Patterson, head of incubation at AlphaCode.

Applications for AlphaCode’s annual incubation programme are now open, and the investment vehicle is inviting early-stage fintech firms or related-sector start-ups to apply.

In a statement, AlphaCode says financial services entrepreneurs and fintech firms have until 31 October to submit their applications, and stand a chance to receive a R1.5 million entrepreneurial package.

Amina Patterson, head of incubation at AlphaCode, points out the programme for 2021 was run completely remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Despite the psychological, financial and health challenges we faced during the pandemic, there has been incredible camaraderie and traction achieved among the selected start-ups.”

Over the past nine months, AlphaCode Incubate supported start-ups that are showing incredible results, says Patterson, adding the start-ups performed well in a very short time, despite the pandemic and setbacks caused by looting.

“These results have validated our start-up selection and incubation methodology that we refined over the past few years, and we hope to improve on these results with the new group in 2022.”

AlphaCode is an incubation, acceleration and investment vehicle for early-stage financial services businesses, powered by Rand Merchant Investment.

The annual AlphaCode Incubate programme seeks to identify and reward high-potential, innovative entrepreneurs to boost the development of fintech and financial services in SA.

The programme offers funding, guidance from experienced mentors and a panel of advisory experts, as well as access to AlphaCode’s exclusive co-working space.

To date, it has disbursed R33.5 million in funding to 41 black-owned financial services businesses over the past six years.

The programme is made up of two phases. In the first phase, eight businesses are selected to participate in a 12-week intensive pre-incubation programme, with each receiving R150 000 in grant funding. This pre-incubation programme focuses on how to achieve a viable business model. It culminates in a demo day where participants compete for a place in the six-month step-up programme.

In phase two, four businesses are chosen for the six-month intensive incubation programme, which focuses on establishing product-market fit and financial viability, and provides each participant with R500 000 grant funding.

Throughout the programme or after having completed it, participants can also apply for seed capital from AlphaCode’s new seed fund, which invests in pre-seed and seed stage start-ups.

“AlphaCode Incubate is looking for exceptional entrepreneurial teams, with the grit to run with an early-stage business or idea that is differentiated and compelling,” says Patterson.

“We need entrepreneurs who can navigate the challenges of a start-up to reach success. It is our mission to support disruptive, early-stage businesses with pioneering ideas to make a meaningful impact in the financial services industry, as we hope to find South Africa’s next generation of successful financial services ventures.”

To apply for the 2022 programme, which starts on 17 January 2022, click here.

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