BD Insider 173: Names of African startups in YC S23 confirmed

Meet the African startups in Y Combinator Summer 2023. We also cover the state of ID frauds in Africa and BasiGo's Rwandan expansion.

BD Insider 173: Names of African startups in YC S23 confirmed

Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) instructed banks to lift the post-no-debit (PND) restriction on the bank accounts of 440 individuals and companies, including Nigerian fintechs Bamboo, Risevest, Chaka and Trove.

Two years ago, the CBN froze the accounts of the aforementioned companies citing “illegal foreign exchange transactions which were weakening the naira” and involvement in crypto transactions.

Although the bank—now under new leadership—did not disclose the reason for lifting the ban, experts say it will enable FX in the country since these companies enable Nigerian residents to invest in dollarised securities.

We will be watching to see how this works out. As usual, we will always keep you updated.

In today's letter, we cover:

  • the highest-risk African countries for fraud
  • BasiGo electric buses launch in Rwanda
  • the three African startups in the Y Combinator 2023 summer cohort

And other noteworthy information like:

  • the latest African tech startup deals
  • a conversation on KYC and fraud in Africa
  • opportunities, interesting reads and more

The Big Three

#1. Smile ID report lists Kenya ahead of Nigeria as the highest-risk African country for fraud

The numbers: This year, fraud attempts in Kenya grew by 7%, while it only grew by 5% in Nigeria. For a country almost four times the size of Kenya and with a global reputation for cybersecurity scams, one would expect its fraud attempts to be of greater proportion. But that's not what Smile ID's report reveals. Nonetheless, both countries' fraud numbers grew over the review period, from January to June 2023.

"Fraud rates move up and down across countries as growth and user behaviour changes in response to new products, services or changes in regulations," says Smile ID. “As more businesses across Africa adopt biometrics for identity verification and fraud prevention, more fraud is being caught.”

According to Smile ID, 43% of ID fraud caught in the last six months were face mismatches indicating that stolen or lost IDs were used, while 41% were selfie spoofs.

Elsewhere: These findings are not peculiar to the Smile ID report. According to data from the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Nigerian banks lost ₦472 million to POS and mobile fraud in the first quarter of 2023.

NDIC says the number of POS and mobile fraud cases increased by 19.51% in the first quarter of 2023, likely due to the growing popularity of these payment methods in the country.

Per NDIC, staff involvement in fraud in Nigeria increased by 89.47%.

Kenya is not left out.

Recently, pan-African e-commerce company Jumia revealed that one of the employees at its Kenyan division embezzled about $150,000 by manipulating vendor payment records. This happened between 2021 to 2022.

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#2. BasiGo expands electric buses offering to Rwanda

On the road: Now in the second year of its operation, Kenyan electric vehicle startup BasiGo has made its second entry into the African market.

BasiGoes to Rwanda

The company has expanded its operations into Rwanda via a partnership with AC Mobility, Rwanda’s provider of automated fare collection systems for public transport.

The partnership will deliver electric buses to Kigali transport operators by October of this year through BasiGo’s innovative Pay-As-You-Drive financing model. At the end of 2024, BasiGo and AC Mobility aim to deliver 200 electric buses to bus operators in the East African country.

Pay-as-You-Drive allows owners to purchase the K6 Electric bus without paying for the expensive battery technology. This makes the upfront cost similar to a traditional diesel bus.

The model provides a battery subscription service which covers everything related to the battery, including charging, warranty, service and maintenance. Operators are charged daily based on kilometres driven, and operators make payments directly to BasiGo.

Why it matters: “This partnership of public transport technology providers in the region will accelerate decarbonization of the sector in Rwanda while also alleviating the current public transport shortage,” says Clare Akamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Recently, the Rwandan government announced an initiative to rapidly scale the size of Kigali’s public transport fleet while also aiming to convert 20% of the public bus fleet to electric by 2030.

Know more: BasiGo has led the introduction of electric buses in Nairobi’s public transport fleet.  The company has sold 19 electric buses to public transport operators in Nairobi and has secured reservations for over 100 additional buses. BasiGo electric buses have driven over 460,000 kilometres and carried over 580,000 passengers, according to a statement seen by However, we have not independently verified these claims.

BasiGo has also deployed Kenya's first DC fast charging stations for electric buses. Last year, BasiGo secured $4.3 million in seed funding to accelerate clean-energy mass transit vehicles in Kenya.

In Nigeria, the Lagos state government announced in May that it has partnered with Oando and EV manufacturer, Yutong to put 12,000 electric buses on Lagos roads by 2030. The first set of the buses have been delivered but operations are yet to commence.

#3. Y Combinator selects three African startups for its 2023 summer batch

The news: On July 4, we exclusively reported that Y Combinator (YC) selected only three African startups for its 2023 summer batch. At the time, only Eden Care, a Rwandan health-focused insurtech was publicly disclosed by YC.

However, a source familiar with the cohort told that there were two other African startups in the batch apart from Eden Care, one from Nigeria and another from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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