Breaking: Y Combinator backs only three African startups for 2024 winter batch

For its 2024 winter batch, Y Combinator has selected two Nigerian fintech startups, Cleva and Miden, along with one Kenyan travel tech startup.

Breaking: Y Combinator backs only three African startups for 2024 winter batch
Cleva co-founders: Tolu Alabi and Philip Abel

Only three African startups have been selected for the 2024 winter batch of Y Combinator (YC), arguably the most coveted global accelerator. Two of the startups have been publicly disclosed; Cleva and Miden (by Tyrus Technologies). An insider source told that a Kenyan traveltech is also in the batch.

Cleva offers cross-border payment services and recently raised a $1.5 million pre-seed, while Miden provides businesses with APIs to issue virtual MasterCard and Visa payment cards.

YC has scaled back its investment on the continent, now backing a maximum of three startups, a change likely implemented since the 2023 winter batch.

Recall that in 2022, The Information reported that Y Combinator reduced its cohort size by 40%, citing the downturn and funding environment. As of January 19, data from the accelerator's directory shows that this W24 cohort is the smallest since the winter batch of 2017.

"We are constantly evaluating every aspect of our batches and the environment in which the companies will be operating, and as a result, the batch size has always varied from season to season and year to year," Lindsay Amos, head of communication at YC said.

Know more about Cleva and Miden


Founded in August 2023 by Tolu Alabi and Philip Abel, former employees at Stripe and AWS, Cleva is officially registered as a Money Service Business (MSB) with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The Nigerian fintech startup claims that it has processed over $1 million in monthly payments, experiencing a 100% month-on-month revenue growth.

According to Alabi, "The problem that [Cleva is] trying to solve, which is enabling people to receive international payments, is not a Nigerian problem nor an African one. It is a global problem; people in Latin America, Asia, and even Canada need to receive dollars for their work and service. We’re starting with Nigeria because we know the market and it’s also a big market. But we feel like because of our backgrounds, we’re very well positioned to solve this problem at a global scale."


Miden is a card API-issuing product of Nigerian fintech Tyrus Technologies, a B2B fintech specialising in virtual cards and embedded finance solutions. Miden was launched in 2022 by Okiemute Avworhokai and Ini Udoh.

"Our primary focus is on constructing a robust virtual card program that accommodates various use cases, ranging from payment collections to cross-border transactions, corporate cards and 3DS and beyond," according to Udoh.

As of October last year, Miden has issued over 50,000 cards, with monthly transaction volumes exceeding $1.5 million and a customer retention rate of 100%.

Read More: Tyrus Technologies: Revolutionising payments with embedded financial solutions

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