Nine African digital firms were among the 117 announced to be taking part in the S21 season of the Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator accelerator last month, earning US $125,000 in initial money as well as further investment opportunities at a demo day, according to Disrupt Africa.
The total number of participating startups has now increased to 296, with four more from Africa. Payhippo, which gives loans to small businesses in Africa in under three hours, and Infiuss Health, which links US and EU-based pharma, life science firms, and researchers to participants for clinical trials and research in Africa, are two of the other enterprises from Nigeria.
Mecho Autotech, which links auto owners with technicians and smart component sellers; Suplias, a B2B platform for mom and pop shops; and Lemonade Finance, a multi-currency payments system, were the three Nigerian representatives.
The third new African addition to the cohort was Ghana’s Yemaachi Biotechnology, a biotech company that is working to reduce the economic burden of cancer by developing novel, non-invasive, and affordable molecular diagnostics, and Zambia’s Union54, which provides card-issuing APIs for corporates who want virtual or physical multi-currency debit cards, was the fourth.
Three companies from Egypt (online insurance brokerage Amenli, car parts marketplace Odiggo, and last-mile delivery company ShipBlu), two from Morocco (e-commerce and fintech app Chari and collaborative SaaS value chain platform Freterium), and South Africa’s Floatpays, an on-demand wage access platform, are among the other African participants in the renowned programme.
During the Y Combinator Winter ‘21 batch demo day in March, ten African digital entrepreneurs went to the virtual stage to present to an audience of investors, reporters, alumni, and other interested parties.
Y Combinator, perhaps the most well-known accelerator in the world, is increasingly choosing African tech startups to participate in its programme. Continental royalty such as Flutterwave, Paystack, and Kobo360 are among its alumni (not to mention Cowrywise MarketForce, Kudi, WaystoCap, WorkPay, Healthlane, Trella, 54gene, CredPal, NALA, and Breadfast).
The accelerator has an uncertain place in the continent’s startup environment, but entrepreneurs praise it for the good influence it has had on their companies.