Inside the failed Y Combinator-backed startups in Africa

Since its debut African investment in 2012, Y Combinator has backed over 106 startups on the continent. We tracked down a few of these startups that have since shut down.

Inside the failed Y Combinator-backed startups in Africa

Over 400 of Y Combinator's backed startups are officially inactive. Among them,'s analysis of the YC Directory found that five are African startups. As tech reporter Kyril Kotashev observes, "The truth is that a significant number of startups fail even if they benefit from the best possible conditions in the world."

The shutdowns of these startups stem from various factors, including internal conflicts, financial misappropriation, and challenging economic climates.

Y Combinator's highly selective accelerator programs, with an acceptance rate of around 1.5% to 2%, have invested in roughly 4,597 startups since 2005, with approximately 106 focusing on the African market, according to its directory.

Fun Fact: Wave, from Senegal, became the first Y Combinator-backed African startup in 2012. Meanwhile, Paystack was the first Nigerian startup to be funded by the accelerator, not PetaSales.

Let's take a closer look at five African startups backed by Y Combinator that have closed their doors since the accelerator's first investment on the continent in 2012.


  • Launched: 2021
  • Sector: Fintech
  • Primary market: Nigeria
  • Founders: Nkiru Amadi-Emina (CEO) and Ijeoma Akwiwu (COO)
  • Total funding raised: $2.8 million
  • YC batch: S22
  • Shutdown: December 2023

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