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Ben Blaine

Ben Blaine

Community builder - OfferZen

Ben has worked in various South African payment and tech startups over the last 11 years. He enjoys working with devs to build and test ideas, get their first customers and find product-market fit. He has also built multiple online and open source developer communities. Early in his career he worked on solving the chicken-and-egg problem of launching a mobile payments app: getting enough merchants to accept the form of payment while also getting customers to use the app. SnapScan is now accepted nationwide in South Africa and was acquired by Standard Bank.Following that he was an early employee at and helped to launch software developer marketplace, OfferZen, which now boasts a community of over 100 000 software developers across Africa and has recently expanded into Europe. More recently he built an open source, programmable banking community of 300+ developers in a collaboration between OfferZen and Investec Private Bank.

Roadblock title

Building a programmable banking developer community from scratch


At OfferZen, a dev community and job marketplace, I worked on a project with South African and UK-based Private Bank Investec to build out a Programmable Banking API and dev platform in collaboration with the community. In this session, I’ll cover how the project played out and how I executed my responsibilities to build the dev community. This includes building a banking API iteratively with a bank, building a beta group for the API, and getting apps built on top of the API by the community members. My talk covers the following topics:

  • Background to the project
  • Dev research
  • Motivating funding with research
  • Building prototype API with skeleton team
  • Hackathon-ing our way to production
  • Personally onboarding clients (devs)
  • Weekly online meetups
  • Online community hackathons
  • Community content system to ~100k readers
  • Getting community members to build 40+ apps
  • Converting on-demand delivery company OneCart to Investec
  • How it’s going as of today