SilverBridge supports AirBuy in driving fintech innovation

SilverBridge and innovative fintech Airbuy have entered the second year of an enterprise development programme, highlighting how the technology solutions provider can assist start-ups in unlocking additional value by providing them with the relevant expertise to navigate the complexities surrounding the financial services industry.

“At the time, SilverBridge interviewed numerous start-ups to identify one that provided them with a good cultural fit from an enterprise development perspective. Airbuy stood out from others due to the passion and commitment of the founders, and how focused they were at realising their idea. They also wanted to make a difference in their communities which is something SilverBridge feels quite strongly about,” says Ruth Wotela, People Wellness Executive at SilverBridge.

The Airbuy payment gateway allows e-commerce sites to accept payments without customers needing to provide their banking details. For the end user, this entails using only their mobile number to set up and complete a transaction.

“Given the increasing connectedness of people thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, we identified a huge gap in the market. Mobile penetration is significant not only in this country, but throughout the continent. It therefore made sense to harness the power of the mobile phone allowing us to create the opportunity for all South Africans to buy online and also experience the product accessibility and convenience benefits on offer. Of course, Airbuy not only ensures increased accessibility, it also caters for those users who are sceptical about the security of saving their credit card details on e-commerce sites. Airbuy has developed a proudly South African solution to cater for those requirements,” says Njabulo Makhathini, co-founder and head of business development at Airbuy.

SilverBridge supports Airbuy with office resources in a shared environment as well as access to several experts in different areas that include marketing, IT, HR, compliance, and business.

“We identified individuals at the company to provide Airbuy with guidance and mentor the team in different ways. It is not a case of changing their vision but supporting them and encouraging the business to grow. We are supporting them and empowering them to do what they want through not only access to our experts but also our network of partners,” says Wotela.

Tshepang Kobo, co-founder and CEO of Airbuy, believes SilverBridge gave them the structure required to think more strategically about their goals.

“Before, we were very free flowing. But working with SilverBridge made us realise there are certain elements to consider and being cognisant of their long-term impact on the business,” says Kobo.

“Even though we are passionate about our idea, we learnt very quickly in the journey that starting a fintech is not the same as doing, for example, a delivery app. There are significant legal and regulatory elements that must be in place. SilverBridge helped us every step of the way and enabled us to grow quicker than we anticipated and scale our systems accordingly,” adds Makhathini.

He points out that the biggest lesson is that a start-up does not necessarily require funding but the right expertise.

“It is easy to spend funds in the wrong way. It is more about getting the right resources and making less mistakes on spending money inefficiently.”

For Kobo, the SilverBridge relationship brought with it a lot of stability.

“Previously, we used to meet at coffee shops or worked at various incubators for a few weeks at a time. This was a very volatile approach but SilverBridge gave us a safe environment to work from.”

As to be expected, Airbuy dealt with setup-related issues in 2019, but now it is focused on scaling up. It plans to expand into another country by 2024 but will remain reliant on SilverBridge consulting throughout the process.

“Even though we might not be working from their offices by then, we will always use them from a consulting perspective. They have vast experience in scaling solutions across Africa which is extremely valuable for us as we focus on growing Airbuy,” adds Makhathini.

According to SilverBridge’s Wotela, the relationship is very flexible.

“SilverBridge is there to support Airbuy. We believe in what they are doing and hope they continue with the innovative work for years to come. Our support is focused on assisting them as they navigate through their business developments,” concludes Wotela.

About SilverBridge

SilverBridge has over 24 years’ experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our experience includes working with over 60 customers across 16 African countries. SilverBridge’s digital insurance suite allows financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology capabilities to help its clients do better business.

Exergy helps insurers overcome the complexities surrounding Debicheck

First launched in 2017, the Debicheck authenticated collections process has been designed to combat debit order abuse – from companies that are processing invalid debit orders to consumers avoiding paying them by unfairly disputing these with their banks. Yet, it has been cumbersome and expensive to implement from an insurer perspective. This has resulted in a slow uptake and market cynicism that this is an effective system.

From a practical perspective, debit order mandates are electronically confirmed by end users with their banks on a once-off basis to ensure no amounts are deducted from their accounts without their approval.

“The lack of widespread adoption shows that the resources and systems required to effectively implement Debicheck are not seen as worthwhile. However, SilverBridge has made significant enhancements to Exergy that help make this a smoother process. Our clients can rest assured that the administrative aspects of Debicheck are taken care of, leaving them to focus on business processes such as training staff,” says Annalie Terblanché, product manager at SilverBridge.

Exergy automates the Debicheck mandate process for insurers who have already implemented it.

“Some of the work we have done for a Johannesburg-based client reflects our commitment to assisting companies on the difficult journey when it comes to Debicheck. Exergy will always remain relevant as we ensure it adapts to ongoing changes in compliance demands. Even though Debicheck only signifies a small proportion of deductions, having this support is essential for long-term growth,” concludes Terblanché.

About SilverBridge

SilverBridge has over 24 years’ of experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our footprint extends to 14 African countries. SilverBridge’s digital insurance suite allows financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology capabilities to help its clients do better business.

Hollard Partner Solutions joins forces with SilverBridge for its core insurance system Exergy

SilverBridge has entered into a contract with The Hollard Life Company to implement the Exergy cloud-based policy administration system for the Hollard Partner Solutions business, a division of the well-known South African insurer.

“Our organisation has worked with the Hollard group for a number of years now and has been part of assisting the organisation with its expansion into Africa. This has been an operational success and enabled significant improvements and now the Hollard Partner Solutions business has engaged us to do the same,” says Lee Kuyper, COO at SilverBridge Holdings.

Fundamental to the decision to move has been the advantages the cloud can provide insurers in the digital landscape. This includes an effective environment to test and deploy new technologies, enabling insurers to innovative quicker in a highly competitive environment.

“Like most insurers, Hollard wants to position its business for a digital world. Our experience in doing this for other customers and our close relationship with global technology leader Microsoft has given us a further edge to any competitors in the market. But for us, it is not just about finding the perfect technology fit, but providing value to our customers. They understand the technology and how to effectively adapt it to suit the unique requirements of our customers, and how to engage with the people at our clients in a way which builds trust and confidence that we will be there for them whenever they need us,” says Kuyper.

Using Exergy on the Microsoft Azure cloud will help Hollard Partner Solutions modernise its core insurance system. It will give the organisation the ability to not only scale according to customer requirements but embrace emerging technologies to deliver significant value to end customers.

“The project will be done through a phased approach to ensure all policies are effectively migrated and the Hollard team is equipped to use the Exergy platform optimally. Even though any insurance system migration is a complicated process, the established SilverBridge relationship and track record with Hollard does make it much smoother. Change management is vital for a project of such magnitude, and Hollard has committed a number of resources to assist in the smooth transition. Our experienced consultants also provide Hollard with the comfort that our people will be with them every step of the way. We have more than two decades experience in the insurance industry and our people are our most valuable asset to help leverage the value to be had from technology investments in a digitally-led business environment,” concludes Kuyper.

“Hollard Partner Solutions are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead with Silverbridge because our IT philosophies are closely aligned. As we focus on digital transformation, the Exergy platform also plays a pivotal role in enhancing our online channels and processing capabilities,” says Duran Chetty, COO at Hollard Partner Solutions.

About SilverBridge

SilverBridge has over 24 years’ of experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our footprint extends to 14 African countries. SilverBridge’s digital insurance suite allows financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology capabilities to help its clients do better business.

SilverBridge to present at exclusive Microsoft partner event

SilverBridge has been selected as one of only 20 Microsoft partners to attend and present at a Microsoft Middle East and Africa (MEA) partners event on 15 and 16 October in Dublin. This sees the African provider of insurance software solutions be given an opportunity to showcase its offerings.

“SilverBridge has continued to work closely with Microsoft as a strategic partner. This has resulted in our insurance product suite, Exergy, being selected as a Microsoft Prioritised Co-Sell Ready solution for the MEA region. This influenced the decision to include SilverBridge at this event and is yet another exciting development with our partnership.” says Lee Kuyper, group COO at SilverBridge Holdings.

In addition to presenting their Co-Sell Ready offers and solutions, the event gives invited partners the opportunity to meet the Microsoft SMB and Corporate sales teams as well as participate in business exchange and opportunity-sharing sessions.

“With more than two decades’ of experience in the insurance technology industry, SilverBridge has continually evolved to deliver on market requirements. More recently, we embraced a cloud-first approach that aligns with what Microsoft is doing globally to ensure our customers in Africa are ready for the new digital age, and what it has to offer. Our partnership with Microsoft not only enables us to create the best technology solutions for our industry using their platform, but also to take these solutions to market together reaching a range of companies that offer insurance in the MEA markets.”

This is not only a great opportunity for SilverBridge to get exposure to several insurance companies and banks that Microsoft work with, but also to position the organisation to key senior people within Microsoft. Additionally, the Microsoft Corporate sales team will get an opportunity to better understand what SilverBridge has to offer in order to identify where their relevant customers have identified needs that match these solutions.

About SilverBridge

SilverBridge has over 24 years’ of experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our footprint extends to 14 African countries. SilverBridge’s digital insurance suite allows financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology capabilities to help its clients do better business.