Number of African startups taking part in latest Y Combinator accelerator climbs to 13


The number of African participants in the Y Combinator accelerator’s S21 cohort has increased to 13 after three more were confirmed ahead of demo days on August 31 and September 1.

Disrupt Africa reported last month nine African tech startups were among the 117 revealed to be taking place in the S21 edition of the Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator accelerator, receiving US$125,000 each in seed funding as well as further investment opportunities at a demo day.

The number of startups taking part has now climbed to 296, with an additional four of those hailing from Africa. Two of the additional ventures are from Nigeria, namely Payhippo, which provides loans to small businesses in Africa in under three hours; and Infiuss Health, which connects US and EU-based pharma, life science companies and researchers to participants for clinical trials and research in Africa.

Nigeria already had three representatives, in the form of Mecho Autotech, which connects car users with mechanics and smart part vendors; Suplias, a B2B marketplace for mom and pop stores; and Lemonade Finance, a multi-currency payments solution.

Ghana’s Yemaachi Biotechnology, a biotech company that is working to lower the economic burden of cancer by developing novel, non-invasive and affordable molecular diagnostics, was the third new African addition to the cohort, and Zambia’s Union54, which provides card-issuing APIs for corporates who want to have virtual or physical multi-currency debit cards, was the fourth.

The other African participants in the renowned programme include three 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.

In March, 10 African tech startups took to the virtual stage for Y Combinator Winter ‘21 batch demo day, pitching to an audience of investors, press, alumni, and other interested parties.

Y Combinator is perhaps the world’s most famous accelerator, and is increasingly selecting African tech startups to take part in its programme. Its alumni features continental royalty such as Flutterwave, Paystack and Kobo360 (not to mention Cowrywise MarketForce, Kudi, WaystoCap, WorkPay, Healthlane, Trella, 54gene, CredPal, NALA and Breadfast).

The accelerator occupies an ambiguous position within the continent’s startup ecosystem, but is lauded by entrepreneurs for the positive impact it has on their businesses.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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