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How the top five South African startups for 2022 can improve your life

How the top five South African startups for 2022 can improve your life

Entrepreneurship has been hailed by many as the way forward and a great way to boost an ailing economy. A recent Momentum Insights report found that in the third quarter of 2021, SMMEs provided jobs to 9.7 million people or 68.3% of all jobs. Of these, just over two million jobs, or 21.9% of all SMME jobs, were provided in the informal sector alone.

As 2022 winds down, an awards ceremony sponsored by Xero and PayFast, with support from HeavyChef, xneelo and Workshop17, recognised the top five startups for the year — Curbon, Franc, Parket, Floatpays, Zoie. These are all technology startups that are less than five years old and have come up with innovative ways to make life, well… a little more convenient.

Help the planet while shopping online

First up was Curbon, a fintech startup that traces your carbon footprint when you are doing online shopping — from the production stage to when you finalise payment, and allows you to offset the carbon equivalent emissions of your online purchases by making a direct financial contribution to climate projects.

Help your business grow by investing wisely

The second startup was Franc, an investment technology app for businesses. Entrepreneurs Sebastian Patel and Thomas Brennan saw a gap in the market and came up with an innovative online solution for businesses to save or invest easily. Franc quadrupled the number of investors using its platform in the first year of operation. “As an investment actuary, I often got asked how people should be investing their money. With so many complex products, we started Franc as an easy solution. Only about 5% of the South African population invest and “how to invest” is one of the most popular searches on Google,” Patel says.

Access public parking ahead of time without needing cash

Parket was the third winning startup and is a turnkey digital parking access programme, designed to allow you access to ticketless and cashless public parking. The app allows drivers to register their vehicle licence plates, source parking at affordable rates and pay via the app in a cashless transaction. You can even book a parking bay ahead of time, and drive into the parkade where your licence plate is visually recognised and the boom opens automatically for you. Founder Joshua Raphael told Engineering News that the smart parking management platform reduces the endless coasting and carbon emissions associated with vehicles looking for parking, while also eradicating consumables such as paper tickets.

Access your salary in an emergency rather than relying on credit 

Floatpays, founded in 2019 by Simon Ward, allows employees to access a portion of their pending pay cheque at any time of the month to cover unplanned expenses.

In February this year, the Naspers Foundry invested R15-million in Floatpays. Fabian Whate, head of Naspers Foundry notes that on-demand earned wage access was fast-growing within the fintech sector.

“While still nascent in South Africa, there is significant potential for Floatpays, which is focused on serving the underbanked. We’re delighted to partner with the Floatpays team, who have a proven track record of success in early-stage tech businesses, particularly in fintech,” he says.

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Simon Alston, chief executive officer of Wellness Warehouse, says the company partnered with Floatpays to help address some of the financial challenges of employees via a cost-effective, convenient solution.

“What really resonated for us is that (Floatpays) teaches financial responsibility and is on a mission to change habits. This is therefore a sustainable solution with lasting benefits,” he says.

In July this year Wellness Warehouse staff reported an improvement in financial wellness, with 36% fewer loan applications and 23% less credit use while 96% felt more in control of their finances.

Digital health consultations for women

Finally, Zoei is a digital health clinic that provides women with access to fertility, family planning and maternity consultations. A recent survey by Zoei showed that the physical, mental or emotional burden of reproductive issues had affected the concentration of 90% of respondents in the work environment.

Eighty-five percent said their productivity tended to decrease when facing such challenges, and 65% had, at some stage, been forced to miss work because of a health matter related to reproduction, such as a period, miscarriage or pregnancy. The venture, which was founded by Thato Schermer and Dr Nonhlanhla Sitole, has already received widespread international recognition, having previously won the Harvard Africa Business Club new venture competition. BM/DM

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Otsile Nkadimeng - photo by Thom Pierce

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