Kenyan traveltech Triply is the third African startup in YC 2024 winter batch

Kenyan traveltech startup Triply has joined Y Combinator's 2024 winter batch as the third African company selected.

Kenyan traveltech Triply is the third African startup in YC 2024 winter batch
Triply co-founders: Peter Wachira and Collins Muthinja

In January, we exclusively reported that only three African startups joined Y Combinator's (YC) 2024 winter batch: two Nigerian fintech companies, Cleva and Miden, and an unknown Kenyan traveltech startup.

The startup is Triply, formerly known as Tripitaca. It was founded in 2021 by Peter Wachira and Collins Muthinja as an operating system for travel businesses across Africa. “We eliminate operational chaos by unifying payments, Invoicing, payroll, accounting, operations, and more into a single platform allowing travel businesses to execute and sell more efficiently,” CEO Wachira said in a statement.

His travel experiences fueled the idea for Triply. He found himself frustrated by the lack of an all-in-one platform offering access to secure and verified accommodation options around the world. This gap in the market became the driving force behind Triply's creation.

While 90% of Africa's travel businesses are small and medium-sized, they struggle with limitations, including difficulties in collecting payments, reliance on manual operations, limited access to financial services, and booking systems hampered by weak payment infrastructure, resulting in 60% lower efficiency.

Peter Wachira is not new to the travel industry. Before Triply, he founded Luna Blue, a leading vacation rental management company in East Africa. Meanwhile, Collins Muthinja, Triply's CTO, has led engineering teams at startups like Boda Care, a Buy Now, Pay Later platform focused on providing affordable insurance to motorcycle operators.

“We are excited to leverage our cumulative experience and the strength of our team to empower travel businesses and shape the future of travel in Africa,” Wachira added. “This is more than just a company; it’s a mission to unlock the potential of our continent’s travel sector and create a lasting impact.”

Last year in South Africa, Neighbourgood, a proptech company, acquired Local Knowledge, a Cape Town-based traveltech startup with a similar service model to Triply. Local Knowledge, like Triply in East Africa, offered curated travel recommendations, accommodations and experiences for users. 

The about $1.5 million acquisition underscores the potential of platforms that empower travellers worldwide with verified options.

Related Article: Inside Alma Asinobi’s plan to get Africans to travel the world via Kaijego

YC is scaling back in Africa

In 2022, Y Combinator slashed its intake by 40% due to the economic downturn. This cautious approach continues into 2024, with their Winter cohort being the smallest since Winter 2017 according to the accelerator's directory.

The slowdown extends to Africa, where YC has only backed a handful (no more than three) of startups since Winter 2023. This marks a significant decline from previous years. Lindsay Amos, head of communication at YC, attributes the adjustments to their continuous evaluation of "every aspect of our batches and the environment" where the startups operate. This, she explains, has always led to variations in cohort size.

While Miden, Cleva, and Triply represent the African continent in Y Combinator's Winter 2024 cohort, another interesting addition is Ocular AI.

Founded by Michael Moyo, a Zambian and Louis Murerwa from Zimbabwe, Ocular AI operates out of Silicon Valley. However, our definition of an "African startup" focuses on its primary target market. Since Ocular AI isn't primarily targeting Africa, it's excluded from the official list of African startups in the cohort, and Y Combinator's directory also reflects this distinction.
Also Read: Inside the inactive Y Combinator-backed startups in Africa

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