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Startup News Roundup – Ukheshe Goes Global, Call for Proposals for VC Funding, Insurtech Startup Disrupts Car Insurance & More (15 – 19 March)

Posted on Mar 15th, 2021
Articles Tech
Startup News Roundup – Ukheshe Goes Global, Insurtech Startup Disrupts Car Insurance & More (8 – 12 March)

Fintech Ukheshe Eyes Global Expansion

 Ukheshe Technologies, a payment technology provider within the B2B sector, has confirmed it is expanding its operations internationally. The company has set its sights on the Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific.

The move comes on the back of several successful high-profile projects and partnerships in various African countries including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, Botswana, Angola, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Ghana.

In addition to collaborating with numerous blue-chip banks, telcos and fintechs, Ukheshe has built strong alliances with Mastercard while acquiring two companies and raising just under R100m within a two-year period.

Apart from its regional African reach, Ukheshe will focus on establishing significant long-term partnerships in strategic locations within the Asia Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East and has filled key senior positions with the announcement of Donovan Drew as President: Asia Pacific; Paul Selibas as President Project Engineering, based in Europe; together with Chris Pillay as VP of Finance, located in Dubai.

Currently Ukheshe provide the platforms and technology that support 16 banks and fintechs, three telcos, 3,000 billers, 200,000 merchants, as well as 18 million digital wallets and four million apps combined which process millions of transactions every month.

SEE ALSO: Ukheshe and Other South African Tech Startups that Disrupted 2019

SA Private Equity Firm Seeks Investment Opportunities of Up to R350 Million

Private equity company Moshe Capital Fund Managers is actively seeking to invest R350-million into diverse companies with a solid presence in their sectors.

The firm has secured a funding commitment from FNB Commercial and has entered into a partnership agreement with RMB Ventures, both divisions of FirstRand Limited. 

“Despite economic challenges, there are several opportunities for investment and growth in various sectors such as manufacturing, industrial, mining products or services and secondary agriculture in South Africa. We predominantly invest in established businesses with enterprise values of R200 million or more,” says Mametja Moshe, founder and CEO of Moshe Capital, adding that the calibre of funders makes it possible to increase available funding should a detailed assessment process reveal compelling prospects.

Moshe Capital Fund Managers is a wholly owned subsidiary of Moshe Capital and is 100% black women-owned. Moshe Capital currently has four investments across various sectors. Named by ABSIP as corporate finance team of the year in 2019, Moshe Capital’s investment approach seeks established businesses based primarily in South Africa, but with the potential to grow into sub-Saharan Africa and internationally.  “When considering investments, we look for a track record of at least three years of consistent returns and EBITDA of above R25 million,” says Moshe. 

The degree of active involvement in each investment differs depending on the potential and requirements of each business. Moshe Capital is sector agnostic and is looking to enter into long-term partnerships. “We believe in entrepreneurship by partnership. We are keen on businesses that provide returns on investments of more than 25% over five years or more.  We fully appreciate that Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the valuation of most companies, and will take that into account when evaluating opportunities,” she says. 

In addition to funding, Moshe says that private equity partners add significant value in other areas. These include serving as sounding boards for business strategy, assisting with further expansion or additional liquidity, and navigating difficult economic realities like those brought about by Covid-19.  “We’ve worked closely with our existing partners over the past year to recapitalise balance sheets, improve the robustness of cashflows and even pivot businesses into new areas,” says Moshe. 

Moshe Capital prefers to invest in qualifying businesses with a commitment to job creation, economic empowerment and with social and environmental impact. Given that businesses need to be established with a proven track record, Moshe is not looking to invest in start-up and green fields businesses, or business rescue and turnaround cases. Solid enterprises can obtain more information on www.moshecapital.com 

Insurtech Startup Aims to Disrupt Car Insurance With New Offering

A black-owned South African insurtech is providing the solutions to the millions of cars on the roads whose owners can’t afford insurance. Vaai.co offers car accident cover on demand. Just like airtime, you buy the cover you can afford only when you need it and you recharge when you need to.

“Insurance companies actually penalise you if you live in a poorer area and drive a cheaper car – they charge less to insure fancy cars in fancy areas. It just makes no sense to me that those South Africans who need better prices are quoted more. Plus most of us are hardly driving our cars during Covid-19. Vaai.co developed the answer for those who can’t afford ongoing car insurance and those that have had enough of the great car insurance rip-off,” explains the co-founder of Vaai.co, Thabang Butelezi.

“Instead of paying for car insurance monthly via debit order for the rest of your life, you simply download the free Vaai.co app from the Google Play store and buy the prepaid insurance for 24 hours. You are totally in control and can adjust cover to suit your budget, because having some cover is better than nothing. For instance, for less than the price of two 2 litre cold drinks you get R13 000 cover. If you have more money available, you can buy up to R120 000 worth of cover.”

Butelezi cautions consumers that Vaai.co is not a replacement for traditional car insurance. It offers affordable basic cover per day when you need it but the cover is only for accidents. “Vaai.co is for those times you think a specific driving occasion is riskier.”

“And we also don’t care about your claims history. We keep things very simple – you select the amount of cover you need for the next 24 hours based on what you can afford,” says Duncan Barker, co-founder of Vaai.co. Payment is made on the app or cash payments are accepted at FNB ATMs.

To buy your insurance, you will need to purchase a once-off data logger for R350 which is delivered to you or you can get it via an agent. The data logger runs diagnostics on your car, saving you money on expensive mechanical and electrical damage. It also allows Vaai.co to detect if you have a major accident and can dispatch a towing service and support to you.

In addition, South African road users can use the Vaai app to get on-demand roadside assistance.

Vaai.co is underwritten by Compass Insurance and is currently only available in Gauteng with plans to expand nationally. You can go to www.vaai.co, download the app from the Google Play store or call 010 100 8224.

A New Marketplace for the African Built Environment

Yakha AfriCAN Architecture, a South African-based startup, aims to become Africa’s largest online source for knowledge, collaboration and products for the African built environment – and thereby digitising the catalogues that architects have relied on for years in one easily accessible space.

The company allows architecture and construction firms and designers to upload details, photos and videos of their projects to its curated database, and already features more than 500 projects.

Within these projects, an average of 1 000 furniture and construction products are linked to Yakha’s B2B marketplace where local manufacturers of all sizes can reach their clientele by displaying and selling the products through Yakha’s e-commerce facility. Brands are only charged a referral fee on the sale of an item, calculated as a percentage of the total sales price of the item/s excluding taxes.