Last month, 13 African digital firms were announced as part of the S21 edition of the Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator accelerator, with each getting US $125,000 in initial capital and further investment options during a demo day.
The total number of participating startups has now risen to 374, with two more coming from Africa. Pylon, based in Egypt, produces infrastructure management software for water and power industries, and Fingo Africa, based in Kenya, is a neobank aimed towards young people across the continent.
Payhippo, which provides loans to small businesses in Africa in under three hours; Infiuss Health, which connects US and EU-based pharma, life science companies, and researchers to participants for clinical trials and research in Africa; Mecho Autotech, which connects car users with mechanics and smart part vendors; and Suplias, a B2B matrimonial platform.
Egypt already has three representatives: online insurance brokerage Amenli, car parts marketplace Odiggo, and last-mile delivery firm ShipBlu, while Morocco has two: e-commerce and finance app Chari and collaborative SaaS value chain platform Freterium.
The cohort is completed by Yemaachi Biotechnology of Ghana, a biotech company working to reduce the economic burden of cancer by developing novel, non-invasive, and affordable molecular diagnostics; Union54 of Zambia, which provides card-issuing APIs for corporates who want virtual or physical multi-currency debit cards; and Floatpays of South Africa, an on-demand wage access platform.
Ten African digital firms pitched to an audience of investors, reporters, alumni, and other interested parties during the Y Combinator Winter ‘21 batch demo day in March.
Y Combinator, probably the most well-known accelerator in the world, is increasingly picking African digital entrepreneurs for its program. Flutterwave, Paystack, and Kobo360 are just a few of the names on its alumni list (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.