Since its launch in 2017, Techstars Toronto today announced that it has made its 100th investment into startups across the world; 40% of these startups are from Africa.
"This 100th investment from our Toronto fund showcases our dedication to fostering innovation in Canada, and in emerging markets. Moreover, we are lifetime partners to these founders, with skin in the game," says Sunil Sharma, managing director of Techstars Toronto.
The Toronto-based accelerator made its first African investment in 2019, through Nigerian payments infrastructure startup, Korapay. In the following year, it backed cryptocurrency exchange platform, Quidax and Fliqpay, a cross-border payment infrastructure startup.
Thereafter, Techstars Toronto made investments in other African startups including TalentQL, Healthtracka, Payday, RentSmallSmall, Ourpass, Fleri, Lenco, Kyshi, Emergency Response Africa, Gigmile, Glade, Mycoverai, Blackcopper, Bongalow, and truQ, amongst others. Most of these investments are in fintech startups and companies from Nigeria.
"Africa in general and Nigeria in particular as a key market we [Techstars] wanted to be in," Techstars CEO Maëlle Gavet said last year during a trip to Lagos.
“What has happened is that the overall performance of Techstars has been very good, in part because of the [previous] African companies,” Sharma told TechCrunch two years ago. “So to answer the question of why we are doubling down on Africa, we are actually more than quadrupling down and it is because we see the future.”
Techstars runs over 40 accelerators globally, including the recently launched Lagos-based outpost. Available data on the Techstars startup directory shows that aside from the Techstars Barclays Accelerator (that was held in Cape Town), more African startups are accepted into Techstars Toronto and New York.
According to Maëlle Gavet, Canada has a more welcoming visa system for Africans compared to the other locations where the accelerator holds. "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.
Techstars' accelerators, including its Toronto outpost, have invested in about 76 African companies, according to BD Funding Tracker and Techstars Directory.
Ten African startups selected for Techstars Toronto 2023 summer cohort
Techstars Toronto reached its 100th investment milestone with the announcement of its Summer 2023 class. Of the 24 startups selected for this batch, 10 are Africans; as usual, Nigerian and fintech startups dominated the list.
"From global payment companies and credit scoring for immigrants to international student sourcing and rental housing affordability to cross-border real estate, AI ethics, and healthcare solutions, to cyber risk assessment, and last-mile drone delivery, these 24 startups touch upon many pressing trends in today's world," Sharma said in a statement seen by Bendada.com.
Find below the identity of the African startups in the Techstars Toronto 2023 summer cohort:
- Payfi (Nigeria): Helping International Students Access Affordable Housing.
- Chimoney (Nigeria): A fintech startup that allows users to seamlessly send money globally via Emails, Phones, or Twitter, and easily cash out through Banks, Mobile Wallets, Crypto, Gift Cards, and more.
- Reeple.ai (Nigeria): Helping African immigrants in the Diaspora access seamless financial services.
- Cutstruct (Nigeria): A building material marketplace, driving efficiency and transparency in construction.
- Oval (Nigeria): Finance OS for growing businesses.
- Hulugram (Ethiopia): Enabling social engagement for over 30 million internet users in Ethiopia via a chat-based platform.
- Ladder (Ghana): AI-powered wealth management for people and businesses providing personalized financial advisory and accountancy services.
- Seso (Ghana): Leveraging advanced technology and deep industry knowledge, Seso Global introduces trust and transparency to the African Real Estate market.
- MPOST (Kenya): MPost empowers individuals in the developing world with virtual addresses, by using mobile numbers as official addresses for KYC, insurance, banking, and eCommerce, thereby building a digital infrastructure for seamless access and exchange.
- CatalyzU (South Africa): CatalyzU vets, trains, & places Africa's leading talent at global startups.
"On October 4 and 5, Techstars Toronto will celebrate the founders graduating from this cohort with two Demo Days. We invite you to attend," Sharma said.