Five Nigerian tech startups were selected for the 2021 Y Combinator Summer batch, most of the African countries represented in the batch.
Y Combinator, arguably the most popular accelerator in the world, hosts a three-month accelerator program twice a year for start-ups around the world. It also organizes a demo day, together with various investors from around the world, to invest in these ventures. In addition to providing financial assistance and fine-tuning the startup’s pitch deck, it also supports and guides them to deal with investors and acquirers.
Y Combinator has invested in many Nigerian companies including Flutterwave, Paystack, Kobo360, Kudi Bank, Cowrywise, CredPal, Tizeti, 54Gene, Releaf, among others.
For the summer batch, Africa has compared 15 startups for the first time, compared to 10 selected in the winter batch that took place from January to March 2021.
Other countries in Africa with summer party representation include Egypt (4), Morocco (2), Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa have one each.
These are the five startups from Nigeria:
Founded by Ridwan Olalere in 2020, Lemonade is a cross-border payment platform tailored for Africans, not just in Africa, but everywhere – at home or abroad.
Users in Nigeria on Lemonade app can transfer to mobile money accounts in Ghana and MPesa accounts in Kenya and the transactions are completed in minutes.
To fund a Lemonade wallet, the app generates a virtual bank account to which the user transfers funds from their bank account or fintech app. When a user wants to transfer money from their wallet to a foreign account, Lemonade does the currency conversion. However, the user must enter the destination bank account and a sort code. The recipient does not need a Lemonade app as the money goes straight to their account.
Payhippo is an artificial intelligence powered lending platform that provides loans to underserved small businesses in Africa. The businesses the company focuses on are often overlooked by traditional lenders because they lack credit scores and cannot meet their collateral requirements.
The company was founded in 2019 by Zach Bijesse, Uche Nnadi and Chioma Okotcha. Since then, it has provided more than 2,600 loans to companies with a 97 percent repayment rate. During that time, Payhippo’s revenue has also increased by an average of 25 percent each month.
In July, Payhippo announced it closed a $1 million pre-seed round from investors including Ventures Platform, Future Africa, Launch Africa and Sherpa Ventures with participation from Hustle Fund and Mercy Corps Ventures.
Infiuss Health provides a decentralized platform for remote research and clinical trials in Africa.
Founded by Melissa Bime and Mbah Charles in 2020, the company enables blood banks to manage their blood supply through digital donor recruitment and follow-up and stock management of blood/blood components.
It runs a tele-recruitment process that allows it to have direct contact with blood donors all year round, and it also uses this to allow consenting donors to donate samples for biobanking and research.
Founded in 2021, Mecho Autotech is the youngest of the Nigerian companies.
The two founders, Ayoola Akinkunmi and Olusegun Owoade, started the company as an on-demand vehicle maintenance and repair platform. Mecho Autotech has created a network of vetted mechanics and car owners can book and pay for their services via an app.
Mecho helps companies maintain their fleet and manage claims and repair processes for insurers.
Suplias provides a B2B marketplace where mom-and-pop stores in Africa buy inventory directly from manufacturers using a mobile app.
Founded by Stephen Igwue, Michael Adesanya and Sefa Ikyaator in 2019, Suplias guarantees the best prices, a wide variety of products and next day delivery.