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Rand Merchant Investments (RMI) startup incubator AlphaCode has taken another step to find the next unicorn in financial services when it chose Oyi Medical Card and awarded it R450 000 at its first virtual demo day.
Oyi is one of seven startups that were awarded entrepreneurial packages valued at R2 million each in 2019 as part of AlphaCode’s Incubate programme.
The Oyi Medical Card is a savings card that can only be used for medical expenses and is supported by secure payments technology. Holders use this card to save for medical expenses. It removes the temptation to use the money for other purposes because it can only be used to pay for doctors, medical services such as x-rays, blood tests and medicine.
According to Tami Ngalo, CEO of Oyi, “The card is primarily aimed at employers whose staff are not covered by medical aid. It also encourages a culture of saving and responsible financial practices. Unlike medical aid schemes or health insurance, the cardholder can use it to pay for medical services for any household member or dependent. The card works at any medical provider in South Africa where MasterCard is accepted.”
Ngalo spent most of his childhood visiting state hospitals in the former homelands of South Africa and after experiencing the public health system in the UK and spending a few years working in IT at a bank, Ngalo decided to launch a medical card that enables affordable access to quality healthcare.
“Cardholders and their families can seek medical care with dignity. We are making healthcare accessible to everyone with a social purpose to build healthy communities and sustainable wellness,” he says.
Covid-19 forced Oyi to review how it works. “At the beginning of the pandemic, we were at 50-60% human interaction when we would actively seek customers. Then Covid-19 struck and suddenly everyone was at home. We thought of a different way to approach people who were at home on their phones. We ramped up our spending on digital marketing and now we are 100% digital. We also increased our turnaround time for onboarding new clients from between five and seven days to one day.
Andile Maseko, head of ecosystem development at AlphaCode says that the Oyi Medical Card will support a healthier South Africa and help to increase a desperately needed savings culture. “The judges said that Oyi demonstrated good traction over the programme given the available resources and adapted well to the new environment. Overall, they were impressed with Ngalo’s professionalism and ability to address their questions raised during the Q&A and believe he is solving a real market need. ”
The Incubate cohort of which Ngalo was a part, offered entrepreneurial packages included a year of mentorship, expert-led monthly masterclasses, office space in Sandton, marketing, legal and other business support services, access to RMI’s extensive network of thought leaders, potential clients and capital, as well as R1 million in grant funding.
Incubate awards entrepreneurial packages to South Africa’s most promising financial services startups through AlphaCode with the support of BofA Securities (previously Bank of America Merrill Lynch) and Royal Bafokeng Holdings.
Applications are now open until Monday, 26 October 2020 for the next AlphaCode Incubate programme.
The Incubate programme has disbursed R30 million in funding to 31 black-owned financial services businesses over the past five years.