Tanzanian fintech startup Nala and five companies from Nigeria have been taking part in the Winter 2019 batch of the Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator programme, which concluded this week.
The renowned Y Combinator runs two accelerator programmes each year, investing US$150,000 in startups from across the world and giving them access to three months of training, mentorship and networks.
Its Winter batch 2019 is by far its biggest yet, with more than 200 startups taking part. It concludes today and tomorrow with demo days, and includes at least three African tech startups. Y Combinator does not announce participating startups until the companies themselves decide they are ready.
One of those selected to take part was Tanzania’s Nala, a simplified mobile money application that allows users to make faster, smarter and safer transactions without an internet connection. The startup was a winner of Seedstars and Ecobank competitions in 2018.
Also involved were five startups from Nigeria. They include Stack Diagnostics (StackDx), which through its 54gene platform provides genetic testing at affordable prices, while also solving the problem of the lack of African genetic information in drug development research. In January the startup raised an undisclosed amount of funding from early-stage fund Microtraction to help it expand its market share.
Also involved was Thrive Agric, which provides microloans to Nigerian farmers and a channel to sell produce to large buyers. The startup has also taken part in the 500 Startups accelerator in Silicon Valley.
Nigeria has been a major supplier of Y Combinator participants in recent years, with companies selected for recent programmes including CowryWise, Kobo360, Releaf, and Kudi. Morocco’s WaystoCap, Kenya’s Kuhustle, Ghana’s Tress and Egypt’s Instabug are other African startups that have been involved in the last few years.