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LATEST TECH NEWS: AlphaCode Incubate programme selects 10 SA fintech startups. 2 other things and a trivia you need to know today, February 2, 2021 | Ripples Nigeria

These latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today. 1. AlphaCode Incubate programme selects 10 SA fintech startups AlphaCode |



These latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today.

1. AlphaCode Incubate programme selects 10 SA fintech startups

AlphaCode Incubate programme has selected 10 South African fintech startups for its ZAR10 million (US$665,000) funding scheme.

The programme is a 12-week intensive pre-incubation programme, valued at ZAR500,000 (US$33,000), including ZAR150,000 (US$10,000) in grant funding.

According to press, the initiative provides funding, guidance, co-working space and opportunities to apply for further early-stage investment.

Three out of the10 selected startups include Bento, an out-of-the-box employee perks and benefits platform; Mapha, which buys and delivers goods from any local store in your area within two hours; and OysterPay, a digital banking platform for gig workers.

Others include Melon, AgriCool, Imfuyo Technologies, MatchKit, Varibill, Chama Money, and DentX, a machine learning platform for vehicle damage repair pricing.

Tech Trivia:

Pick the odd tech leader in the pack

A. Mark Zuckerberg
B. Jack Dorsey
C. Jack Ma
D. Allen Zhang

Answer: See end of post.

2. Egyptian Elmenus secures funding from David Buttress

Elmenus, Egyptian food discovery and ordering platform, has secured an investment from David Buttress, former chief executive officer (CEO) of global food-ordering firm Just Eat.

The development, according to press, added Buttress to the startup’s board as the food startup plots aggressive expansion.

Elmenus, which was founded in 2011 by CEO Amir Allam, is a food discovery and online food delivery platform with personalised recommendations to users at the dish-level through its AI-powered food recommendation engine.

READ MORE: LATEST TECH NEWS: Nigerian crypto app launches operations in Ghana. 2 other things and a trivia you need to know today, November 19, 2020

Last year, the startup raised a US$8 million Series B funding round, and today has grown quickly, launching online ordering operations and recently its own fleet service.

Buttress will bring to the board his extensive entrepreneurial and investment background, having joined Just Eat in 2006 to launch its UK business.

3. Crypto platform Luno adds US dollar stablecoin

South Africa’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platforms, Luno, has added USDC, a secure stablecoin, to its current offering for users.

Described as one of the most secure stablecoin in the market, the USDC is expected to drive more investors into the crypto venture.

Marcus Swanepoel, CEO and founder of Luno, while expressing excitement over the new add, said that cryptocurrencies were in the limelight, charging investors and traders to maximise the opportunity.

He said: “Broadening our platform with the addition of USDC is an exciting move for us and our users. With Bitcoin and others, including Ethereum, reaching all-time highs, cryptocurrencies are in the limelight and the opportunity is certainly ripe for investors and traders to take advantage.”

The new development will serve Luno customers the opportunity to store their wealth in the world’s reserve currency.

Tech Trivia Answer: Jack Ma

Jack Ma built an ecommerce product, Alibaba while other techpreneurs on the list built a social media platform. Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook, Jack Dorsey built Twitter while Allen Zhang built WeChat.

Jack Ma is a Chinese business magnate, investor and philanthropist. According to his portfolio statement, he is the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate. Ma is a strong proponent of an open and market-driven economy.

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AlphaCode Incubate programme has selected 10 South African fintech startups for its ZAR10 million (US$665,000) funding scheme.



Trends that will impact FinTech sector in 2021

🔊 Listen to this Article Technological advancements, as we all know, are ever changing and constantly evolving. The FinTech sector follows suit. 2020 has been a consequential year for everyone around the globe. With people being confined to their homes, they solely relied on technology to meet all their needs. The demand for FinTech solutions …



Rohit Taneja, FinTech Sector

Technological advancements, as we all know, are ever changing and constantly evolving. The FinTech sector follows suit. 2020 has been a consequential year for everyone around the globe. With people being confined to their homes, they solely relied on technology to meet all their needs. The demand for FinTech solutions continues to increase and the industry is already booming more than ever in 2021.

Digital transformation caught a whole new level attention in 2020 any by the end of the year, businesses, giant corporates, banks and the public had become100% receptive of emerging technologies. With the rise in adoption of technologies in the fintech sector, 2021 will not just be about survival but also about sustainability and convenience.

The technological trends that will impact the FinTech sector are innovative and driven to meet the needs of the consumers.

Embedded Banking and Finance

In simple terms, embedded banking is connecting an entity that has finance & banking at its core to another entity that has a non-financial background.For instance, how Apple & Goldman Sachs joined hands to roll out the Apple Card, introducing finance into a tech-driven ecosystem. Banking as a service is enabling this quantum leap that’s changing the way companies function and interact with consumers.

Embedded Banking

It helps companies recognizevaried innovative services that they can provide to their customers and that can also give them a competitive edge in the market. With the power of API integration, embedded banking can help non-financial companies become a part of the fintech ecosystem. Many fintech companies and other startups are waking up to the benefits of embedded banking and the fundamental role of APIs. The API-led connectivity approach has placed Banking API platforms like Decentro perfectly to partner with banks as a Banking-as-a-service (BaaS) Providerto enable companies to launch the desired banking & financial solutions in just a matter of weeks.

Neo Banking

A hotly discussed topic in the fintech industry, neobank is making waves in terms of how people perceive banking. Neobank is a new-age bank providing financial services to customers but it operates online and has no physical existence anywhere. These services could vary anywhere from payments, money transfers to lending. A neobank has no bank license of its own to operate and relies on already accredited banking partners for licensed services. Neobanks work under considerable constraints in the Indian ecosystem. Globally, Singapore & UAE have started to roll out digital licenses for neobanks to function autonomously. Neobanks require traditional banks by their side to handle customers’ money, and for the banks, it becomes easier to acquire new customers.

Also Read: Global FinTech companies aiming for a post-pandemic India run


2020 clearly changed online shopping inevitably. The market is transitioning to e-commerce which is clearly indicated through consumer insights during the lockdown and while recovering from it. The tremendous hike in online shopping has provided a new platform to businesses and marketers for harnessing success. Many countries are likely to experience exponential growth in e-commerce in the coming years. What’s more, 40 percent of online shoppers utilised e-commerce solutions precisely because of the limitations imposed by the pandemic, while 45 percent used online shopping even more frequently than they did prior to 2020. In India, we are now seeing a lot of interesting and new models catch up like group commerce, conversational commerce and many more.

Savings and Investment Tech

With the current ongoing scenario, there is an uptake of interest in understanding new channels of investment and ensuring safe and secured savings instruments are part of any investor’s portfolio. People are prioritising their needs over wants. The focus is to build a contingency plan that provides them a monthly income for upto a year. There is also a sharp rise of interest in investing in a wholesome insurance policy that covers all medical and life endangering scenarios.

There is a change in the rent everything mindset of the millennials and preference of home ownership is slowly increasing the investment of younger generation in real estate to add to their security and savings in India.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

A global frenzy of digital currency was created in 2020 after almost two years of minimal news coverage. Millennials especially showed keen interest in knowing more digital currencies and the idea of investing in them. Institutional investors are holding bitcoins and other digital currencies as long term investments. Globally, cryptocurrency is constantly being validated and its legitimacy in terms of being an asset is only expected to grow in 2021.

These emerging FinTech trends stemmed in response to customers’ needs worldwide. Advancements in technology are inevitable but 2020 caused a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour and their reliance on FinTech solutions increased manifold. These trends are also subject to change but most likely for the good to maintain financial inclusion and provide a seamless customer experience.

Views expressed in the article are the personal opinion of Rohit Taneja, Founder & CEO of Decentro- API Banking Platform.


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COMMENT: Fintech — Can there be too much of a good thing?

One of the greatest promises of fintech is financial inclusion. But can there be too much of a good thing?



Fintech icon and internet of things with matrix code background

(PHOTO: Getty Creative)

By Lily Fang

SINGAPORE — One of the greatest promises of fintech is to enable more people to have access to a broader set of financial services with increasing convenience at lower costs. In short – Financial inclusion. Indeed, this is the general promise of innovation: improving people’s lives.

Innovation has generally delivered on this promise. One inspiring story is M-pesa, a Kenyan mobile payment app that allowed people to deposit, receive, and transfer funds all through the mobile app, without a bank account.

Other stories include innovations in insurance. Tech-driven micro-insurance providers can automatically pay out to poor farmers simply based on satellite data of weather conditions, skipping the lengthy and expensive process of claims filing, verification, and processing. And there are many more.

But can there be too much of a good thing? The answer is yes.

Take, for example, Robinhood. The trading platform that enabled – and enticed – millions of retail investors into the stock market by the promise of zero-commission trades, simple, seamless mobile interface, and a gamified trading experience.

Robinhood put a downward price pressure on traditional brokerages, many of which followed suit and offer zero-commission trades. Disruptive? Yes. But unequivocally good? Hardly.

The GameStop saga that unfolded in early 2021 exposed the danger of a gamified experience among millions of unsophisticated yet raucous retail traders, and it shone a light on a question that previously would only interest a few academics working in the arcane field of “market micro-structure”: Why is Robinhood able to offer zero-commission trade? Is Robinhoold altruistically subsidising trades?

The answer is no: Robinhood’s profit model is not based on trading commissions, but “payment for order flow”, an arrangement by which Robinhood receives hundreds of millions of dollars by selling retail investors’ order flows to entities such as high frequency traders, which profit from trading against such order flows.

As another example, consider PayPal’s introduction of a service that allow anyone with a PayPal Cash account to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. On its own website, PayPal dubs this “Crypto for the people”. The service offers a lot of convenience: you don’t need to worry setting up a separate crypto trading account, storing your crypto keys, cold storage, etc. Far less obvious to the novice trader is that PayPal’s service comes with quite a hefty commission: 3% to start. But more important, the simplification and gamification of the whole experience make retail investors overlook how risky crypto really are, or even the need to understand what crypto are.

Finally, take the examples of red-hot payment fintechs such as Affirm, AfterPay, which, by allowing shoppers to “buy now pay later” are believed to be disrupting the traditional credit card model. While shaking up the Visa MasterCard duopoly is welcome, the easier it is to “buy now pay later” the more risk there is that consumers would end up over-buying. At the end of the day, there is still consumer financing involved in “buy now pay later”.

Comparing these examples, one can conclude that in under-developed markets, the benefits of fintech is often clear. But in highly developed markets where consumers are already well-served, the case is often less clear. There is a particular danger associated with the simplification and gamification of financial transactions that could bring more harm than good to both the consumers and the financial system.

Think about what led us to the 2008 financial crisis. At the end of the day, it was cheap loans and lack of underwriting standards. Everything moved too quickly. By making everything so simple and accessible, we are inevitably throwing away some necessary checks and balances, even in people’s thinking process when they make consumption and investment decisions.

There is a reason that there are rules and regulations for the financial industry. We want to guard against over-regulation, but at some level, certain “speed bumps” serve as guard rails to make sure things do not spin out of control. There is a danger that purely tech-driven “disruption” inadvertently removes all speed bumps and guard rails.

In Facebook’s early days, the company’s motto was “move fast and break things”. Facebook has certainly broken a few things, even though one could argue it delivered tremendous value to various stakeholders, shareholders of Facebook being one. But the overall benefits and costs of Facebook to the society is an interesting question. There is a tendency for technology evangelicals to bring the ethos of the tech world – faster, more convenient, more “inclusive” by breaking down all barriers – to the rest of the world, including the finance world. It is important to rethink where the balance should be.

Lily Fang is Professor of Finance and The AXA Chaired Professor in Financial Market Risk at INSEAD

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SINGAPORE — One of the greatest promises of fintech is to enable more people to have access to a broader set of financial services with increasing convenience at lower costs. In short – Financial inclusion. Indeed, this is the general promise of innovation: improving people’s lives.


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Fintech Focus For May 3, 2021

Quote To Start The Day: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Source: Robert Frost One Big Thing In Fintech: Robinhood, the free-trading app that helped drive a surge in retail investing during the pandemic, has switched to using JPMorgan Chase to handle crucial money transfers into customers’ accounts. Source: CNBC Other Key Fintech Developments: Apex Fintech has blow-out earnings. Coatue leads Alchemy’s $80M raise. New fintech groups form on scrutiny. Coinbase buying data platform Skew. Cboe Europe receives bank backing. Evolution of European bond markets. Apple is charged with antitrust breach. Fidelity added digital asset analytics. Deutsche Börse, Commerzbank team. Wall Street banks ditch fax machines. Wealthfront eyes a crypto expansion. ICE sold its Coinbase stake for $1.2B. Goldman has quantum breakthrough. Paxos taps $300M to onboard clients. Watch Out For This: If you visited Apollon Nimo at his Detroit-based Parkway Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealership, you might have walked out with a damn good deal. In fact, your deal might have been too good to be true. That’s because Nimo was illegally using employee discounts to cut customers good deals, even when those customers failed to qualify for that discount, Auto News reports. In fact, he scammed FCA—now Stellantis—out of about $8.7 million. Source: Jalopnik Interesting Reads: Quick Pitch: Changing LA’s outlook. Crypto’s shadow currency growing. MindMed is now public on Nasdaq. Bridgewater co-CIO talking bubbles. Creators bank selling spreadsheets. Demand boosts rental car startups. Industries being disrupted by Musk. Market Moving Headline: U.S. broad market indices closed the week out flat-to-down after a failed attempt to break higher on Thursday, April 29. Last week’s action suggests participants are looking for more information to initiate a directional move. Key Takeaways: – Policy leaders, creators: Inflation pockets transitory. – Ahead: Data on labor, manufacturing, and earnings. – Markets balancing, positions for directional resolve. In the coming sessions, participants will want to pay attention to where the S&P 500 trades in relation to its $4,186.75-$4,110.50 balance area. Any activity above (below) the balance-area high suggests participants are interested in discovering higher (lower) prices. Any activity within the balance area suggests participants are looking for more information to base their next move; in such case, responsive buying and selling is the course of action. Source: Physik Invest See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaFintech Focus Roundup For May 2, 2021Apex Fintech Solutions Announces Blow-Out Earnings Ahead Of NYSE Listing© 2021 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.




Warren Buffett Sees a ‘Red Hot’ Economy With Creeping Inflation

(Bloomberg) — Warren Buffett delivered a clear verdict Saturday on the state of the U.S. economy as it emerges from the pandemic: red hot.“It’s almost a buying frenzy,” the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chief executive officer said during the conglomerate’s annual meeting, which was held virtually from Los Angeles. “People have money in their pocket and they’re paying higher prices,” he said.Buffett attributed the faster-than-expected recovery to swift and decisive rescue measures by the Federal Reserve and U.S. government, which helped kick 85% of the economy into “super high gear,” he said. But as growth roars back and interest rates remain low, many — including Berkshire — are raising prices and there is more inflation “than people would have anticipated six months ago,” he said.Buffett reunited with his long-time friend and business partner Charlie Munger for this year’s meeting. Munger didn’t make it to last year’s meeting in Omaha, Nebraska — Buffett’s hometown — due to the shutdowns across the country. Some shareholders were relieved to see the duo fielding questions together again.“I really feel that both Charlie and Warren displayed their usual and amazing level of acuity and intellectual energy,” said James Armstrong, who manages assets including Berkshire shares as president of Henry H. Armstrong Associates.Buffett and Munger spent hours fielding questions, from the economy, to climate and diversity, the SPAC boom, taxes and succession. Here’s the lowdown:Climate Pressure:Berkshire faced pressure from two shareholders proposals, one to improve transparency related to its efforts on climate change. The topic was bound to be a feature at the meeting — and it was.When asked about the proposals, Buffett stuck to his previous stance. Measures to produce big reports on diversity and climate for his business lines spanning energy to railroads were, he said, “asinine.” The proposals were later voted down.Buffett was also asked about Berkshire’s stake in oil and gas producer Chevron Corp., which it disclosed earlier this year. Buffett said he felt “no compunction” in the least about its ownership in the company, which he said had benefited society in many ways. While he acknowledged the world is shifting away from hydrocarbons, people on the extreme sides of either argument are “a little nuts,” he said.Greg Abel, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, called climate change a “material risk.” He added that they’re setting targets and spending $18 billion over 10 years on transmission infrastructure.Killer SPACs:Buffett warned investors that Berkshire might not have much luck striking deals amid the boom in special purpose acquisition companies that gripped the market over the past year.“It’s a killer,” Buffett said about the influence of SPAC companies on Berkshire’s ability to find businesses to buy. “That won’t go on forever, but it’s where the money is now, and Wall Street goes where the money is.”Buffett, 90, also spent part of Berkshire’s annual meeting Saturday addressing the recent boom in retail and day trading. A lot of people have entered the stock market “casino” over the past year, he said.Tax:Buffett said President Joe Biden’s proposals for a corporate tax hike would hurt Berkshire shareholders. He added that antitrust laws and tax policy could change things for the company but new tax laws wouldn’t alter its no-dividend policy.Succession:Buffett and Munger, 97, fielded the majority of questions at Saturday’s meeting, but their two top deputies Abel and Ajit Jain, who runs the insurers, also shared the stage. Investors were able to get a closer look at the pair who are considered the top candidates for the job.Munger dropped a little mention of the post-Buffett years that drew speculation on social media about the most likely candidate to succeed Buffett. The CEO was pointing out that decentralization doesn’t work everywhere because it requires a certain type of culture that businesses need to have.“Yeah, but we do,” Munger insisted. “And Greg will keep the culture.”Abel has long been considered the top candidate to replace Buffett, especially when he was promoted to a vice chairman role overseeing all non-insurance operations, which gives him a wide array of responsibilities, including oversight of the railroad BNSF and the energy business.Errors:Buffett offered a few mea culpas during Saturday’s meeting. He noted that selling some Apple Inc. stock last year was a mistake and even said that Haven, the health care venture with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Inc., thought it could fight the “tape worm” of American health care costs but the worm won.“That was probably a mistake,” Buffett said of those Apple stock sales last year. Berkshire still owned a roughly $110 billion stake in the iPhone maker at the end of March. “In fact, Charlie, in his usual low-key way, let me know that you thought it was a mistake too,” he said to Munger, who shared the stage with him.Cash Pile:Before the annual meeting started, the company released its first-quarter earnings, giving investors a dive into the 19.5% operating profit gain during the period.Berkshire ended the quarter with a near-record $145.4 billion of cash on hand as it continued to generate funds faster than Buffett could deploy them. But Buffett also ended pulling back on some capital deployment levers during the period. He bought back just $6.6 billion of Berkshire’s own stock, short of the record $9 billion set in prior quarters, and ended up with the second-highest level of net stock sales in the first quarter in almost five years.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.


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