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Two black SA tech entrepreneurs to keep an eye on

Quintin Mills

Katlego Maphai

After a brief career in management consulting and as a venture builder with Rocket Internet, Katlego Maphai founded fintech Yoco in 2015 with Lungisa Matshoba (who studied together with Maphai), Bradley Wattrus (who he worked with at Rocket Internet) and Carl Wazen (a former consultancy colleague).

It was in late 2012, that the four first began working on the idea for the startup — how to make it easier for small businesses to accept manual credit card payments. The four then spent a full year trying to get a license to operate.

After they were able to secure a license to operate as a payments company, the four moved back to Cape Town, where they were able to get their first angel funding. About a year later, in late 2014 the company went live with its first customers and decided to hunt for a Series-A round.

“The time leading up to that was really, really tough. There were moments where we literally had a month of capital in our bank account. We were just raising angel and family office money to allow us to continue,” Maphai said.

Today the company has secured over 20 000 card machine users and is now raising a Series-B funding round, to assist the company to expand into new markets internationally.

Maphai says the ability to think long term makes all the difference. Says Maphai: “When you have that perspective you are able to have belief. And when you have belief you can constantly infuse that into your team.”

Nkazi Sokhulu

Nkazi Sokhulu is the CEO of Johannesburg based insurtech Yalu which he founded last year with Tlalane Ntuli. Both are former Old Mutual managers.

Sokhulu’s startup claims to offer South Africans “more affordable and transparent” credit life insurance. The startup launched its first product, which covers personal loans, on 1 June and plans to launch more products that cover other forms of credit over the next few months.

In May the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) — which oversees government employees’ pensions — revealed that it is funding the new black-owned insurtech with an undisclosed amount.

The startup began operating in January, after the two spent last year “conceptualising and thinking through the value proposition”. Sokhulu, in an interview, said that Yalu’s team is made up of eight people.

While Yalu’s policies are underwritten by Old Mutual, Sokhulu says the startup has not received any funding from the financial services provider. Both Old Mutual and insurer insurer RGA helped out with licensing requirements.


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