Thanks to the incredible effort and support of the developer community, programmable banking has become a reality in South Africa.
How it started
Since 2017, OfferZen has been working on building a programmable bank account for developers. Our goal was to eliminate the barriers in FinTech and enable the developer community to find new and innovative ways to control their money.
The journey started with Root. When we first announced that we wanted to figure out programmable banking, more than 30,000 developers indicated they were interested in the mission. This massive response gave us the confidence that we were working on something important.
In 2020, Investec Private Bank approached us to talk about their mission to invest in the tech sector. Like us, they believe that software can fundamentally accelerate South Africa’s economic growth and wanted to figure out how they could support developers. They were super excited about the idea of making programmable banking a reality in South Africa and wanted to help developers innovate in the banking industry.
How it’s going – The birth of Make: Breaking down more innovation barriers
In 2022, we decided to spin out the OfferZen team that has been working on the Programmable Banking project for the last 4 years into their own business.
Make was born: A company dedicated to driving impactful innovation by connecting developer communities with businesses.
The idea is to build on the success we’ve had with programmable banking and extend the scope.
The Make team has grown the Programmable Banking developer community to over 1000 software developers. They have hosted 100+ community events (meetups, ideation events and build challenges) and have a thriving Slack workspace where devs are helping each other innovate.
This deep community involvement has been integral in ensuring that programmable banking would come to life, that developers would actually build new solutions in the FinTech space and that they are supported and able to connect with other builders. It’s been amazing to see how the community has grown, and what you’ve accomplished:
- +1000 software developers in the community
- 70+ community builds
- 60+ meetups
- 10+ build challenges
- 12+ business use cases
Make has supported the community to build 70+ software solutions and assisted multiple businesses with their programmable banking use cases. Individual developers and businesses have been owning their banking experience and built some really impressive solutions, such as:
Splirrit: A simple website that facilitates peer-to-peer payments without the fuss of exchanging banking details.
OneCart’s fraud detection & prevention: OneCart used Programmable Banking to monitor shopper spending and pick up and prevent fraudulent activity instantly, which has saved them a significant amount of money.
African Alliance spend allocation: A system that makes managing their finances and team expenses easier.
Platform45’s expense reconciliation: A corporate card spend management solution that aims to take the drudgery out of spend reconciliation.
Banking on Spreadsheets: A simple Google Sheets tool that manages your bank account balance, helping non-technical people better understand Programmable Banking.
We are incredibly grateful for all the energy that you – the dev community – have put into this. Thank you!
The Make team is continuing to collaborate with OfferZen and support the Programmable Banking developer community, and they’re also extending their scope: They’re exploring how they can help other businesses collaborate with developers to drive impactful innovation, similar to what we’ve done with Root and Investec before.
For example, recently Make worked with EskomSePush to run a build challenge. Teams submitted builds and provided product feedback and insights for EskomSePush, which contributed to the launch of EskomSePush’s paid-for individual API offering, driving increased API revenue.