Y Combinator’s latest batch — W22 — features 414 startups from 42 countries, representing more than 80 sectors. Just like last year’s batches, about half of the companies in the W22 batch (where YC’s Standard Deal comes to full effect for the first time) are based outside of the United States.

As usual, the U.S. has the most representation. India, with 32 startups, is the second-largest demographic represented in the new batch, while Nigeria is third, having delivered 18 startups. This is the first time an African country is appearing in the top three.

Africa as a whole has 24 startups in this new batch, a record besting S21’s 15.

Here we list the startups in alphabetical order, providing more details about each of them, as well as context around what they are building and why YC is backing them.

beU delivery

Website: https://eat.beu.chat/

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 300

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

What it says it does: Runs a food delivery service in Africa.

Promises include: beU delivery says it offers a “great selection of local restaurants and door-to-door food delivery” that allows customers to have their favorite food from the “comfort of their homes or offices.”

How it says it differs from rivals: The one-year-old startup claims to be the leading food delivery service in Ethiopia and is 67% cheaper than the competition.

Founders: Before beU delivery, Hao Zheng, who leads the team as chief executive, was the founder and CEO of Yooul, a social networking app in China.

Quick thoughts: Off the back of DoorDash’s IPO, Y Combinator seems set on replicating that success in other markets, including Africa, where the likes of Glovo and Jumia Food are ramping up efforts to grab market share.

beU delivery is YC’s first set of investments in Africa’s food delivery space alongside Heyfood, another startup in this batch. But unlike the latter, it has less to worry about with those two big players absent in Ethiopia, at least for now, as it focuses on outdoing the country’s foremost food delivery service, Deliver Addis.

Bloom

Website: https://withbloom.com/

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 11

Location: Khartoum, Sudan

What it says it does: An app that offers stable savings for users in Africa.

Founders: Ahmed Ismail, a second-time founder who has worked for Goldman Sachs and Barclays, is the CEO. Abdigani Diriye, Khalid Keenan and Youcef Oudjidane, the other co-founders, have combined experience across engineering, investment banking and venture capital.

Quick thoughts: Sudan suffers from inflation and currency devaluation problems, like most African economies. Bloom’s offering allows Sudanese to save in U.S. dollars and spend in their local currency, Sudanese pounds, among other features like remittance and dollar cards.

Given Sudan’s very nascent tech ecosystem — Bloom is the country’s second venture-backed startup in over 30 years and YC’s first in the country — it’ll be interesting to see if the startup, with heavyweight founders, can achieve success and open up the Sudanese tech ecosystem.

 

Boya

Website: https://boya.co/

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 10

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

What it says it does: A platform for corporate expense cards and spend management for businesses in Africa.

Promises include: The startup says more than 50 million businesses across Africa can’t easily streamline and track employee spending in real-time. Thus, its platform makes it “easy for these businesses to issue corporate expense cards (Visa for now) and software, mainly for sales and marketing teams, to track and control spending.

Founders: Alphas Sinja, Boya’s chief executive officer, has over eight years of experience in the banking and finance sectors. Robert Nyangate is the company’s CTO.

Quick thoughts: It was only a matter of time before the corporate spend management buzz made its way into Africa, as well as YC has done with Brex, Jeeves, Karbon Card, Volopay and Kodo. Unlike the U.S. and India, where these companies are based, most of Africa doesn’t have functioning credit card societies, which is the basis of how this model works — maybe that’s why it’s yet to take off in Africa.

Ghana’s Float initially launched as Brex for Africa but later pivoted to offering the same credit features with more emphasis on software and less on cards; Boya, on the other hand, plans to execute on both fronts using overdrafts.

Convoy

Website: https://getconvoy.io

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 8

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Building an open-source webhooks infrastructure.

Promises include: The startup claims its “open source cloud-native” webhook services is “secured, reliable, and scalable for customers’ webhooks infrastructure.

How it says it differs from rivals: Convoy claims that no “sane open source tool” exists for engineers to build and ship highly scalable webhooks infrastructure. And Convoy is the first to fill in that gap. “Essentially, just like Redis is to key-value storage, and GitLab is to DevOps, Convoy is to webhooks,” it says.

Founders: Subomi Oluwalana, the CEO, and Emmanuel Aina, Convoy’s chief operating officer, are software engineers who worked together at Tangerine Africa and independently at various local and international tech startups.

Quick thoughts: Convoy is one of the very few — if not the only– devs- and engineer-focused platforms from Africa to get into Y Combinator. As interest in webhooks continues to soar due to their importance in helping web applications communicate with each other in real-time, Convoy’s play, which allows developers globally simply plug its webhooks infrastructure and focus on building their APIs and products, is meritorious. 

Curacel

Website: https://curacel.co

Founded in: 2019

Team size: 30 

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Building Plaid for insurance in Africa.

Promises include: Curacel says it is building the rails to “make it easy and pleasant to get and use insurance in emerging markets and for the next billion Africans.”

Founders: Henry Mascot started a company in 2017 to help hospitals digitize records. He teamed up with John Dada two years later to build Curacel, a fraud detection system for health companies at the time.

Quick thoughts: In 2019, Curacel started with claims automation and fraud detection in health insurance with hospitals as its target market. Now, its insurance APIs are suited for businesses in other sectors, including fintech, e-commerce and logistics.

Insurance APIs from Curacel and other players such as Lami, Naked and Root are required to increase the uptake of insurance in Africa — where penetration stands at less than 3% — by allowing businesses to plug into them so they can offer insurance packages to different segments of the population.

 

Dojah

Website: https://www.dojah.io

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 22 

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: An all-in-one know-your-customer (KYC) and identity verification platform for Africa.

Promises include: The company says its KYC/identity platform allows African fintechs and government bodies to capture a “wholistic, end-to-end verification of an individual.”

Founders: Tobi Ololade, the CEO, was the chief technological officer of TradeBuza, a data and API infrastructure for agriculture finance. Ayomide Oso, the company’s co-founder and product lead, also worked at TradeBuza.

Quick thoughts: There are only a handful of services tackling the problem of identification of Africans, who make up 81% of the people globally living without official proof of identity. So, Dojah is a welcome addition to a list that includes Smile Identity, giving fintechs and other companies more options to better verify their customers.

Duplo

Website: www.tryduplo.com

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 6

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Venmo for B2B in Africa.

Founders: Among them is Yele Oyekola, the chief executive, who worked at Carbon and was an economic policy officer at the UN. He previously launched a buy now, pay later product in East Africa.

Quick thoughts: Innovation in Africa’s B2B e-commerce and retail space has been around the digitization of processes and BNPL services, but not much around cash overdependence and fraud. Duplo is tackling this head-on, creating digital wallets to help these stakeholders move money better and make cash obsolete. The only worry is incumbents might want to eat into Duplo’s meal — but then again, the market is massive.

 

Eazipay

Website: https://myeazipay.com

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 8

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Eazipay, a payroll solution for African businesses, describes itself as the “Gusto for Africa.”

Promises include: The startup claims that its payroll payment solution can be set up in five minutes and is available for neobanks and commercial banks to reach at least 50,000 businesses. It also says it processes eight payroll payment types, from taxes and pension to insurance via its payment infrastructure. 

Founders: Before Eazipay, co-founder and CEO Asher Adeniyi started Gidijobs, a site for jobs in Nigeria. Kingsley Michael and Efosa Uwogiren are the other co-founders, with experience in machine learning, data science and product development.

Quick thoughts: Despite numerous HR management services, payroll is still an issue for many SMEs. Eazipay joins the list of HR, payroll and wellness solutions Y Combinator has recently backed in Africa, including Workpay and Nowpay, to tackle this problem.

Grey

Website: https://grey.co

Founded in: 2020

Team size: 15

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Provides foreign bank accounts for remote workers.

Promises include: Grey provides foreign (USD, EUR, GBP) accounts for Africans. The startup says these foreign accounts let users receive their salaries or any other payment from foreign companies or individuals abroad, hold it in that form or convert it to their local currency. 

Founders: CEO Idorenyin Obong (ex-Paystack) and COO Joseph Femi Aghedo have worked on a couple of projects for local fintechs, including some volunteering experience with Andela and Ingressive Capital.

Quick thoughts: By taking the bureau de change model online, Grey is solving a convenience problem for freelancers and employees who work for foreign companies from Nigeria. While the platform can quickly dominate the Nigerian market, which isn’t enviously large and susceptible to regulatory scrutiny now and then, particularly around foreign exchange, Grey will need to expand into other countries to keep scaling.

 

Heyfood

Website: heyfood.africa/

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 5

Location: Ibadan, Nigeria

What it says it does: Heyfood is building the “DoorDash for Africa.”

Promises include: Heyfood is targeting Gen Zs, millennials and urban professionals in Africa’s top 70 cities — a number that might reach 140 million within the next decade — who want to order food once a week. With $1 made on every delivery, Heyfood believes it is taking on a $50 billion market.

Founders: CEO Taiwo Akinropo had launched a social discovery platform for students while in the university and worked on a mobile payment solution for merchants. Demilade, a software engineer that has worked for the likes of credit-led neobanks Carbon and Fairmoney, is the CTO.

Quick thoughts: Heyfood operates in Ibadan and that saves it the stress of competing with Jumia Food and Glovo all at once — the former is in Ibadan. However, if its goal is to build the DoorDash for Africa, expanding to Lagos and other megacities across Africa is inevitable — we’re pretty sure it’s in the company’s plans — and raising a ton of money is key to staying alive in a harsh market that has left many lying its wake.

Identity Pass

Website: https://myidentitypass.com

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 17

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Building compliance and security infrastructure for Africa.

Promises include: Identity Pass says its infrastructure makes it possible for digital businesses in Africa to “easily verify their customers within seconds.”

Founders: Among them is CEO Lanre Ogungbe, who was head of business at an accounting startup and is currently a strategic adviser for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures.

Quick thoughts: Data and security are big business, and YC backing two similar companies in the same batch is an indicator of the success of YC-backed Cognito, which was acquired by Plaid, and Veriff, an Estonian unicorn.

Lenco

Website: https://lenco.co

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 13

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: A pan-African neobank for Africa’s 50 million businesses.

Promises include: The platform provides multi-currency accounts for startups and businesses to pay vendors, suppliers and perform cross-border payments while having access to growth capital.

Founders: Among them is CEO Andrew Airelobhegbe, who says he was previously co-founder and CEO at ogaVenue, which he described as “Nigeria’s largest online event venue booking portal.”

Quick thoughts: Lenco plays in a slightly heated business banking space, which includes startups we have covered within the past year — Sparkle, Prospa, Float, and consumer neobanks Carbon and Kuda. There are millions of businesses that need the services these startups provide, and Lenco’s end-to-end suite — which will include corporate card management in the near future — makes it a player to watch.

Moni

Website: www.moni.africa/

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 12

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Moni describes itself as a community bank for Africa.

Promises include: In agency banking — a branchless banking system where agents act like human ATMs — liquidity problems abound that affect how these agents withdraw and deposit cash for their customers. That’s where Moni comes in.

It provides financing to these agents using community and trust-based systems, claiming to do so in five minutes. So far, it has disbursed over 10,000 loans and achieved 99% repayment with revenue growing 50% month-on-month.

Founders: Femi Iromini, the startup’s CEO, previously worked with The World Bank Group, and Adedapo Sobayo has experience in blockchain development.

Quick thoughts: Moni is YC’s third backing — after CrowdForce and Kudi, one of its most valuable companies on the continent — in the branchless banking space, where financial services are extended to the last mile via a network of agents.

Nash

Website: getnashglobal.com/

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 11

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

What it says it does: An all-in-one finance platform for borderless businesses in Africa.

Promises include: “Nash enables finance teams to manage all their finance flows in one place and craft their money flow experiences globally. Our ledger-based operating system allows your borderless business to connect all your money accounts, accounting systems, payment service providers, treasury operations, spend management in one place.”

Founders: CEO Anthony Wagacha, George Mbuthia and Lione Alushula have combined experience at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, KPMG, Microsoft and Central Bank of Kenya.

Quick thoughts: Yet another digital bank or banking-as-a-service model for businesses. As more businesses come online and expand across Africa, there’s a need for platforms like Nash to help finance teams manage and facilitate transactions between different accounts. 

Numida

Website: https://numida.com

Founded in: 2016

Team size: 60

Location: Kampala, Uganda

What it says it does: Numida provides working capital loans for African micro-businesses.

Promises include: Typically, micro-businesses will need to wait for weeks or months to borrow money from informal lenders, family or other sources like banks. Numida’s pitch to these businesses is that they can apply for working capital on its platform and receive it within a day.

Numida has provided $7.5 million in working capital to over 13,000 businesses in East Africa within the past 12 months.

How it says it differs from rivals: “We have figured out how to score and disburse unsecured loans to cash-based businesses that have no digital transaction history while maintaining excellent collection rates,” it says.

Founders: Numida CEO Mina Shahid is a two-time founder, while Ben Best, the CTO, has worked for a YC company in the past, and Catherin Denis, the COO, worked for several companies across Africa and South America. 

Quick thoughts: The provision of working capital to small and medium businesses is a viable solution in almost any market. In Uganda, these businesses deal with informal providers, most of which are loan sharks, and Numida, a startup founded six years ago, is positioning itself as the foremost digital option.

 

Payourse

Website: https://payourse.com

Founded in: 2020

Team size: 12

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Builds tools and infrastructure for easy access to crypto in Africa.

Promises include: Payourse says its tools and infrastructure make it “easier, faster and cheaper” for anyone in Africa to access crypto and web3 services.

Founders: Among them is CEO Bashir Aminu, who said he previously built Coinprofile, a similar company enabling the sending and receiving of cryptocurrency.

Quick thoughts: Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing crypto markets globally, and local exchanges that allow people to send crypto and convert to fiat such as Payourse’s product Coinprofile are key to driving this growth. But Payourse sees its role as bigger than that; by building tools, it will allow other non-crypto businesses to offer crypto services and ultimately accelerate the use of crypto on the continent. 

Plumter

Website: https://plumter.com

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 2

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Easy foreign payments for Africa.

Promises include: “We’re providing payment rails and APIs to help African merchants and consumers easily move money in and out of Africa.”

Founders: Until recently, Yinka Elujoba plied his trade as a writer and critic, contributing to The New York Times. Eni Joshua, on the other hand, is a software engineer who has worked with a couple of startups.

Quick thoughts: While there are a plethora of fintechs like Chipper Cash and NALA enabling P2P cross-border payments within and outside the continent, none is a clear winner yet. That’s why startups such as Plumter and Grey still see opportunities in the space and are bundling enticing features to woo customers from existing platforms. I reckon we’ll see some consolidation in the next five years.

Remedial Health

Website: https://remedial.health

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 10

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: A business-to-business e-commerce and fintech platform for pharmacies and hospitals in Africa.

Promises include: With pharmacies in Africa paying higher prices for counterfeit medicines, Remedial Health says its marketplace offers an alternative to higher-quality medicine with fast delivery (within 24 hours) and credit. It claims to sell medicine wholesale to 1 million pharmacies and hospitals in Africa.

Founders: Founder and CEO Samuel Okwuada is a self-taught engineer with experience as a pharmacist. Victor Benjamin, on the other hand, has worked for 10 years in pharma sales.

Quick thoughts: As various health techs try to digitize pharmacies and stem the supply of fake and substandard pharmaceutical products in Africa, Remedial Health is taking a step further to offer them credit via its BNPL offering. Not that it’s an ingenious proposition — given that the likes of mPharma do that already— but offering credit to businesses that previously had little or no access is noteworthy.

 

SendMe

Website: http://www.sendme.ng

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 40

Location: Ibadan, Nigeria

What it says it does: On-demand provider of meat to households and food businesses.

Promises include: “We built a chatbot that lets customers place orders for meat on WhatsApp and they get it within 3 hours.”

Founders: Daniel Afolayan is the CEO of Sendme; he previously worked as a growth lead at SeamlessHR before running an innovation hub and a logistics company.

Quick thoughts: As of 2019, Nigeria was said to account for half of West Africa’s meat consumption. And what better way to provide convenience to a meat-eating population than via apps or for SendMe, a chatbot. Though the Ibadan-based platform caters to individual households, it also serves food businesses, where it’ll face stiff completion from Vendease, another YC-backed company.

Simplifyd Systems

Website: https://simplifyd.com

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 8

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: The company delivers toll-free internet apps.

Promises include: Simplifyd is a marketplace for data-free internet apps that, through its Zerodata app, enables businesses to deliver their internet apps (websites and mobile apps) data-free, similar to toll-free telephone lines. The company says it’s on a mission to “make apps accessible to over 2 billion people in emerging economies who simply cannot afford the costs of internet data subscriptions.”

Founders: CEO Tomi Amao, a former Cisco systems engineer, formerly led the team at Eyowo, a Nigerian fintech. Sam Keiru also spent some years at Cisco before co-founding Simplifyd.

Quick thoughts: Internet is expensive in Africa, and providing data-free access to apps and websites to those who can’t afford the costs of internet data subscriptions is one way to go to drive digital inclusion on the continent.

Tendo

Website: https://tendo.app/

Founded in: 2021

Team size: 15

Location: Accra, Ghana

What it says it does: Tendo says it enables Africans to sell stuff online with zero capital.

Promises include: Tendo connects local wholesalers — who can start using the platform with zero upfront inventory — to drop shippers. “Sellers are able to source products through Tendo and resell items using social commerce tools, such as WhatsApp, arrange delivery, and get paid,” it says.

How it says it differs from rivals: “At the moment, people who want to sell online need to save money, visit hundreds of suppliers to find a trusted one, and risk losing their capital by stocking up inventory. Beyond this, they need to incur costs for logistics and warehousing. We eliminate all that.”

Founders: Among them is CEO Felix Manford, who has some entrepreneurial experience as an engineer in training in MEST Africa, in addition to a stint with Goldman Sachs’ global investment research team. 

Quick thoughts: Africa’s biggest players in social commerce are in Egypt, such as Taager and Brimore. But businesses in other regions are showing that they have an appetite for reselling products via social apps, and YC, having backed Brimore, is likely more than pleased to have another portfolio company in the west of the continent. 

Topship

Website: topship.africa/

Founded in: 2020

Team size: 10

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does:  A platform where merchants can export and import cargo, freight and parcels to their suppliers, distributors and customers; in other words, Flexport for Africa.

Promises include: Topship says it plans to build a “Global Distribution System” that makes delivery of parcels, cargo and freight easy for African businesses. 

Founders: CEO Moses Enenwali is a two-time e-commerce founder and supply chain operator. Junaid Babatunde is the other co-founder.

Quick thoughts: How many times have we seen YC back this kind of company? Its earliest success, Flexport (S14), is an $8 billion juggernaut, and the accelerator has continuously backed Flexport-esque companies in other regions globally: Nowports, Nuvocargo, Exo Freight, Trella and SEND — the last two from Africa, which signifies a sizable market opportunity for numerous players on the continent.

Touch and Pay Technologies

Website: https://www.touchandpay.me/

Founded in: 2019

Team size: 55

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Digitizes and processes microtransactions in Africa

Promises include: “We process cash-based microtransactions across Africa’s informal sector [such as] payment for bus rides. [Today] we help over 300,000 people make this payment.”

Founders: Olamide Afolabi previously founded a regional payment services company; Michael Oluwole was his director of strategy and operations.

Quick thoughts: TAP uses NFC technology to help companies from different sectors process payments. The platform — behind the card payments riders make on the bus rapid systems in Lagos — has bragging rights as one of the few companies to get the populace to adopt cashless payments seamlessly in Nigeria.

Vendy 

Website: https://vendy.money

Founded in: 2022

Team size: 9

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

What it says it does: Vendy enables offline payments in Africa. 

Promises include: The platform says its “alternative payment infrastructure” allows customers to pay businesses on their phones without internet access, payment card or consumer app.

Founders: Among them is Kayode Disu, who says he has over 12 years of experience in building digital security and payments products for “the top banks and payment switches in West Africa.”

Quick thoughts: USSD is Africa’s de-facto method of offline payments. And just in the manner where payment gateways such as Flutterwave and Paystack allow merchants to send payment links to their customers who pay via online banking, Vendy is doing the same with USSD. There are options for this on online payments gateways, but Vendy seems to have a lot more providers.

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