Tami Ngalo, CEO of Oyi

Rand Merchant Investments (RMI) startup incubator AlphaCode says it has 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 Incubate cohort, of which Oyi was a part, offered entrepreneurial packages which 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.

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 says  their ability to expand the use of the Oyi  Medical Card  into Africa would rely on having the right partner. “We would looking at the SADC region first, simply because it's closer to home. We rely heavily on a banking partner to embrace our technology and solution, and those are the conversations happening in the background before we could launch in another territory.”

He adds that the problems that people face to pay for medical services across the continent are the same or similar to South Africa, in the sense that quality healthcare is not widely accessible to many, especially the underprivileged.

What is more interesting with African countries is that  they have migrant workers who remit money back home to their loved ones and that we can assist to ensure that money is used for the intended purpose, he says.

“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.

Expanding digital scope to connect with customers

Ngalo 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 nation 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. ”

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