Out of the 12 startups selected for the Techstars Toronto 2022 Winter cohort, eight are Nigerian tech startups, according to the global accelerator's directory. Aside from these startups, there is a Kenyan startup in the cohort.
"We are thrilled to continue to build a bridge between emerging market startup ecosystems and their diaspora counterparts in Canada. We believe collaboration between founders in diverse markets greatly supports our thesis of encouraging startups to build foundational innovation locally as they look to scale that impact globally," Alisha Golden, Investment Lead at Techstars told Benjamindada.com.
Since its first African investment in 2015, Techstars has backed over 50 African startups—operating mostly in fintech, logistics, agritech and healthtech—through its various accelerators. Available data suggest that aside from the Techstars Barclays Accelerator (that was held in Cape Town), more African startups are accepted into Techstars Toronto and New York.
Techstars CEO, Maëlle Gavet previously stated that Canada has a more welcoming visa system for Africans compared to the other locations where the accelerator holds. "I think Canada has a very welcoming visa system for African founders. So it just makes it much easier for them to go to the Toronto program than it would be to many other Western programs," she said.
Underscoring the relevance of the innovations in Nigeria, Techstars, in partnership with ARM Labs, a Lagos-based innovation program focusing on fintech startups launched ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program which aims to invest in early-stage fintech and proptech companies based in Africa.
The Lagos program will run for three years, featuring three batches—each will have a minimum of 12 startups, that's at least 36 startups by the end of the duration.
Meet the latest African Techstars
The Nigerian startups selected for the Techstars Toronto 2022 Winter cohort cut across logistics, finance, e-commerce and education sectors.
Founded by Seun Alley, Fez Delivery offers core end-to-end support to individuals and businesses for their last-mile deliveries across Nigeria and other parts of West Africa and East Africa.
The company provides a logistics infrastructure that enables and empowers e-commerce businesses to process a large volume of orders across Africa. Renda was founded by Abimbola Onaboye and Opeoluwa Onaboye.
The Nigerian startup is a full-service digital asset and cross-border payment platform that focuses on simplifying the process of saving, investing and spending digital assets. GIGXPAD was founded by Chukwudi Anyanwuocha, Godswill Omozusi and Osamede Arhunmwunde.
Founded by Richard Oyome, Sodruldeen Mustapha and Victor Alade, Raenest is a recruiting and payroll platform that enables African startups to integrate remote contractors and workers.
Founded in 2021 by Damilola Layode and Hanu Fejiro, Glover Technologies is a gift card and digital assets marketplace. The company was introduced by Patricia Technologies as a means to oversee the non-crypto services of the business.
Launched in 2021, "Klas is a platform that allows anyone to start an online school and deliver live lessons. Think of Klas as Shopify for online teaching,” Nathan Nwachuku, Klas co-founder and CEO told Benjamindada.com in March after the Nigerian edtech company secured $130,000 in an angel round.
Simpu was launched into private beta in November 2021, it is an all-in-one omnichannel inbox that allows businesses to receive and send messages across different platforms—email, Whatsapp, SMS, iMessage, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—from a single dashboard.
Founded by Kolawole Balogun, Collins Iheagwara, and Tioluwani Kolawole, Simpu raised a $1 million seed in June 2022.
Founded in 2020 by Oare Ehiemua-Ochui, LaborHack is a Nigerian-based marketplace that is connecting artisans to certifications and jobs as well as laddered services including payments, savings, micro credit, and micro health insurance.
Kenyan Mamy Eyewear is the only non-Nigerian startup in the cohort. Founded in 2021 in Paris, Mamy is an eyewear brand based in Kenya, working to improve access to visual health by making quality eyewear accessible and operating free eye tests — no questions asked.
- Simpu, another Nigerian startup was added to the list. (Nov. 1, 2022)
- Contrary to our previous report that only Nigerian startups were selected for the cohort, there is a Kenyan startup in the cohort (Nov. 1, 2022).
- This updated report was fact-checked by Alisha Golden, the Investment Lead at Techstars.