So far, seven African companies have been accepted into Y Combinator Summer 2022 batch out of 156 companies, globally.
Although it is unclear if this is the final list, the number is less than the 24 African startups that participated in the last batch (Winter 2022). Aside from benefiting from the $500,000 standard deal, the S22 batch will be in-person, for the first time since YC W20.
According to Dalton Caldwell, YC's Group Partner & Managing Director, this batch has recorded more applications. Two of the selected (and disclosed) companies are Nigerian, While Kenya and Ghana are represented by one startup each, another startup on the list even though it is founded by Africans, is based in Europe (but solving remittance problems for Africans).
Also, one of these companies is wholly female-led. Per sector, three of the companies are offering fintech and the other two are focused on logistics.
The African startups in YC S22 batch
The African startups that got into YC S22 are: Pivo Technologies, Chowdeck, Patika, Garage Mobility, Moneco, CoKitchen and Anchor.
Pivo Technologies (Nigeria)
Founded by Ijeoma Akwiwu and Nkiru Amadi-Emina in 2021, Pivo Technologies is a Lagos-based financial services platform designed to power supply chains across Africa. Starting with Freight Carriers Pivo makes financial services easily accessible for truck owners and truck drivers by providing a platform that brings together a bank account and payment solutions for these businesses.
The company also plans to integrate a suite of services from accounting software and pension providers to investments and insurance – a super app of sorts – to become the one-stop financial shop for scaling a business. This will be further augmented by more fundamental financial products such as transaction management, on-demand invoice factoring and expense management, to improve cash management for African SMEs.
Africa has experienced robust macroeconomic growth over the last five years and was the second fastest growing region in 2019 with a GDP of $2.6T, a 3.7% increase on 2018. Nigeria makes up $0.5T, 50% of which comes from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – a huge number of these operate within large manufacturing supply chains.
Related Article: How to get into Y Combinator as an African founder
Launched in October 2021 by ex-Paystack Principal Engineers; Femi Aluko and Olumide Ojo, and ex-Engineering Lead at Crown Interactive, Lanre Yusuf, Chowdeck is an on-demand food delivery service and marketplace where people can purchase their favourite meals from a wide range of restaurants. Currently based in Lagos, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous city.
Whether local or continental, customers can buy food in a few short steps and have it delivered to their doorstep in under 30 minutes. Chowdeck is on a mission to empower restaurants in Africa to deliver meals to customers anywhere and anytime. Part of our unique offering to the restaurants listed on our marketplace is that we’ll help them grow, and so far, most of the restaurants we work with can boast of this achievement.
Chowdeck has delivered over 60,000 meals in six months in two major (undisclosed) locations in Lagos.
Founded by Henry Nneji and Paul Adokiye Iruene, CoKitchen is Africa's leading virtual restaurant company based in Lagos, Nigeria. We've served over 250,000 meals in the last 11 months & our goal is to make good food and quick convenience goods more accessible across Africa, through virtual restaurants & dark stores.
Since its launch in 2011, CoKitchen has delivered more than 250,000 meals with over $500k in all-time sales.
Founded in 2022 by Segun Adeyemi, Olamide Sobowale and Gbekeloluwa Olufotebi, Anchor provides APIs, dashboards and tools that help developers easily embed and build banking products. This includes APIs for creating bank accounts, funds transfers, savings products, issuing cards and offering loans.
Patika enables small businesses in Africa to track customer debt, facilitate repayments and manage their cash flow. The Kenyan startup was founded in 2021 by Phelix Juma and Sidney Rama.
"Small businesses in Africa are using pen and paper to record and track customer debt which is ineffective and time-consuming. As a result, up to 60% is paid late and they lose as much as $2k a year to non-payments. We are automating previously manual processes like phone call-based repayment reminders, billing, payments and reconciliations with a vision to grow into a full-stack neo-bank for Africa's small businesses," the company's profile reads.
Garage Mobility (Ghana)
Founded in 2021 by Cedric Foudjet and Gwanygha’a Gana, Garage Mobility is a wholesale auto parts distributor in Africa where there are more than 2M retailers selling $25B of auto parts annually. The Accra-based startup aggregate parts from the largest suppliers in the world and deliver them directly to retailers for a profit.
"I used to buy and ship auto parts to my dad in Cameroon and realized that the landing cost once those parts arrived in Cameroon was still cheaper than buying locally," Gwanygha’a Gana said. "We realized that this issue was due to inefficiencies across the supply chain for parts distribution. Garage aims to solve this problem by building a wholesale marketplace that will power the $25 billion after-sales market in Africa."
Moneco is a neobank targeting the migrant communities in Europe, starting with the African diaspora. Moneco was founded in 2022 by Bilal Dahlab (he has a multicultural background—Algeria, England, Italia), ex-Paystack and CoinAfrique co-founder; Kuassi Jimmy Kumako and Shams Radjabaly (Born in Madagascar). Although Moneco is based in Paris, France, the founders are of African descent and the neobank is also solving remittance challenges for Africans.
Related Article: Nigerians selected for the Google Black Founders Fund, Europe
"We are making banking easier and more affordable for underserved communities, starting with a current account, a payment card and free remittances," the company's profile stated.
Founded in 2021 by Tunde Adewole and Festus Owumi, Bridgecard is a card issuer for Africa. We make it easy for any fintech company to offer their users a card with a Mastercard or Visa logo that will work anywhere in the world.
YC's impact in Africa
"YC has now funded 95 African companies, and we continue to be impressed with the talent and ingenuity of African founders. We believe that African startup founders will be a massive part of the continued development of the continent," Michael Seibel, Managing Director and Group Partner at Y Combinator said. "I predict that many African countries will leapfrog countries in other parts of the world because they will be faster to adopt more modern software solutions in their economies."
In 2015/2016, YC made its first African investment in a Nigerian startup, Paystack (YC W 16). When YC listed its 271 most valuable companies in the world, seven African startups—Flutterwave, Wave, Paystack, Reliance Health, 54gene, Yassir and Nomba—made the list.
Since PetaSales, the accelerator has done the following on the continent:
- YC has invested in 95 African startups (excluding the YC S22 batch).
- Nigeria has the largest share of YC-backed African startups, with 51 out of 95.
- As of March 2022, YC-backed startups on the continent have raised $1.3 billion
- 86% of the African startups that have participated in the accelerator were in the first two years of their establishment.
- Out of the 95 African startups, only 19 have individually raised $10 million and above.
- African YC-backed startups jointly have over 6,193 employees
- Most YC-backed African companies were founded in 2020. Interestingly, only three got into the accelerator that year, while others made it into the Winter and Summer cohorts of 2021.
- Most of the African startups that participated in the accelerator are fintech. It’s important to note that in over 15 years of backing startups, only 20% of the companies backed by Y Combinator have failed —an excellent number per industry standards.
- This listicle was curated based on the YC startup directory.
- August 1, 2022: CoKitchen was included in the list
- August 11, 2022: YC updated its directory and added Anchor
- August 16, 2022; Bridgecard was included in the batch.
- August 23, 2022: Paystack was the first YC-backed startup from Nigeria, not PetaSales. We have updated this article to reflect this.