Jamii Cities, a platform that connects the needs of the best tenants with the best landlords, has been awarded an additional R450 000 of grant funding by AlphaCode.

This was after Jamii Cities and other startups completed a AlphaCode Incubate programme, one year of intensive mentorship, startup principles bootcamps and being connected with an extensive network. The eight startups were awarded entrepreneurial packages of R2 million each in 2018.

Jamii Cities is a FinTech startup that focuses on property.

The business attracts, selects, onboards and rewards tenants for good financial behaviour related to rental payments, which incentivises a longer stay in Jamii Cities partner portfolio properties and drives their vision to help build smart and connected cities.

Last year October 2018, Rand Merchant Investment Holding (RMI), through AlphaCode and the support of BofA Securities (previously Bank of America Merrill Lynch) and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, awarded entrepreneurial packages valued at R16 million to eight of South Africa’s most promising financial services startups. The packages consisted of R1 million in grant funding and R1 million in support.

Presenting at the demo day, half the businesses had positively pivoted their initial offerings after applying principles learnt and guidance from their mentors. At the event, the eight businesses had eight minutes to pitch and demo their solutions, which was followed by questions from the judges.

Jamii Cities was described as having “a scalable, defensible business model which could grow exponentially over the next few years.”

“I contemplated doing an MBA before the Incubate programme, but I have gained so much more from this experience,” said Adrian Taylor, a co-founder of Jamii Cities.

“I have built a network, got great advice, was pushed hard to do better and had my ideas challenged to produce the best results. I highly recommend the AlphaCode Incubate experience.”

Andile Maseko, head of Ecosystem Development at AlphaCode, said AlphaCode was helping to build a pipeline for SA’s investment community in the FinTech space, particularly for angel investors who are ready to invest in and support these black-owned startups.

Winners of R450 000 grant funding at the AlphaCode Incubate Demo Day: Julia Benadie COO
of BoFA Securities; Adrian Taylor and Marc Maasdorp of Jamii Cities; Lesego Lebuso, Group
Stakeholder Relations for Royal Bafokeng Holdings; Andile Maseko Head of Ecosystem
Development at AlphaCode.

“Events like this also show the impact we’re making, through AlphaCode, in the maturing of the fintech ecosystem,” Maseko explains.

“We ‘supersized’ the programme this past year and will also continue to mentor the stronger businesses that have been part of this cohort. We believe the next Discovery or OUTsurance will come through entrepreneurs who we partner with in this way.”

The Incubate programme has disbursed R21,5 million in funding to 23 Black-owned financial services businesses since it began four years ago.

It deals with common challenges that financial services startups face helps participants transition from being employees to entrepreneurship and offers practical support from top-rated mentors who are experts in their fields.

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