SA fintech startup Meerkat has been chosen as one in every of six startups to participate in US fintech accelerator Catalyst Fund‘s newest cohort. The accelerator goals to advance monetary inclusion in rising markets.
Meerkat, which makes use of a fintech platform to decrease the price of providing its debt counselling and financial savings product to shoppers, is one in every of six startups chosen to participate within the present cohort, which kicked off final month.
The six embody South African (together with fintech Spoon Cash), Nigerian, Indian and Kenyan members and the cohort kicked off in London on 20 January and can run for six months.
SA fintech Meerkat was one in every of six startup chosen to participate within the Catalyst Fund’s newest cohort
Final month the US fintech accelerator Catalyst Fund secured $15-million in funding from JP Morgan and UK Help.
Fintech startups in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa that concentrate on monetary inclusion, are amongst these set to learn from grants of as much as $100 000.
Meerkat will obtain mentorship from the fund and world tech consulting agency BFA and assist to launch their modern low-cost financial savings product to the SA market.
The startup, which affords debt counselling and insurance coverage, was based in 2016 by David O’Brien (pictured above).
Its easy financial savings product goals to help the South African mass market cut back their reliance on debt and enhance their monetary well being. The startup makes use of digital expertise to cut back the price to service the client after which shares the worth that’s created.
Along with the funding, Meerkat will share learnings with the native and worldwide cohort members and the fund’s affect investor networks and investor advisory committee that features Quona Capital, Flourish and Accion Ventures.
On this emailed query and reply (Q&A), O’Brien responded to varied questions on his startup’s platform, what makes it a fintech enterprise and the way the platform is ready to cut back prices for indebted shoppers.
When was the enterprise based?
The enterprise opened for debt counselling in late 2016. We bought our first insurance coverage coverage in 2017, our first financial savings plan in early 2019, and we’re launching our funeral plan in Q1 2020.
I based the enterprise. My preliminary co-founder had a stroke and exited. Early becoming a member of co-founders are Man Platt and Chris Howarth. Chris has in depth operations historical past. Man has Silicon Valley expertise and has constructed a fintech companies in Sweden. The employees personal 20% of the enterprise.
How far alongside are issues with the platform?
We’ve 1500 debt counselling prospects, as it’s a name centre primarily based enterprise. We handle R40-million per thirty days on their behalf. We’ve 1000 policyholders with out a single piece of paper within the enterprise.
The pure fintech factor is the financial savings product that we’re bringing to market. Revenues are round R1-million a month.
Have you ever secured any funding?
I’ve invested over R5-million within the enterprise. We secured an early stage mortgage from the Asisa ESD fund of R7.5-million (the fund, managed by Edge Development, gave the corporate debt funding in April 2017). We’ve simply secured the Catalyst fund help.
We’re at present in talks with some giant SA monetary providers teams about additional funding rounds. Nonetheless, the enterprise is Ebidta-positive, so any funding shall be for particular worldwide growth plans.
What makes the corporate a tech enterprise?
We’re a monetary providers agency that’s utilizing tech to cut back the price to serve our prospects, and return the worth to them. As we construct out the tech components of our proposition we are going to more and more morph right into a fintech. However the product grounding permits us to generate revenues in a conventional manner.
The fintech factor is coming by means of with the portal and the launch of the financial savings product, because the debt counselling course of is a conventional face-to-face enterprise.
We shall be providing a single place for the client to know the breadth of their private funds, with worth including merchandise to assist them to do extra with their cash.
We additionally supply a bot expertise the place you possibly can have interaction with the bot and purchase your credit score report.
How do you supply prospects?
Debt counselling as a regulated course of is exclusive to SA. We primarily supply prospects by means of digital promoting throughout a number of channels.
How do you decrease the price for shoppers?
Our insurance coverage merchandise are fully paperless for the client. We then translate these administration financial savings into diminished premiums.
We even have diminished our distribution prices throughout the enterprise mannequin, that are in the end shared with the client.
Our financial savings product has no give up penalties or lock-ins, which are sometimes linked to the price of conventional distribution fashions. As we enhance scale and launch additional merchandise we may even share scale efficiencies with the client.
A element of the Catalyst journey shall be for us to combine our fintech providing with our merchandise.
Learn extra: African fintech startups to learn after Catalyst Fund nets $15m from UK Help, JP Morgan
Learn extra: UK authorities pledges £10m to Catalyst Fund to spend money on fintechs
Learn extra: Catalyst Fund selects three Africa-focused fintech startups for accelerator programme
Featured picture: Meerkat founder David O’Brien (Equipped)