Y Combinator - a startup incubator and accelerator - has had its interest in Africa peak in the past three years. At least judging by the statistics from the incubator itself. Check out here and here.
In 2017, 28% of its batch came out of the US. But, this number has now climbed to 35% for this year. This is a reflection of how Silicon Valley is becoming accommodative of startups from outside - not only Silicon Valley itself but the US.
For example, it has been three years since they started admitting startups operating in Africa or with African roots. Yet, the numbers are exploding.
In my search for African startups that can be traced to having been a part of Y Combinator, I arrived at 19. Though this number could be higher.
Here is the list of the startups as well as those that have raised follow-on funding after graduating from the incubator. Broken down by year of participation.
2015: 3 Startups
This was the very first batch and as usual, participants were in two batches; the winter and summer batches. Three startups graduated this first year. That’s Afrostream - which was largely focused on Francophone Africa, Saida based out of Nairobi and energy company, Oolu. Afrostream has since closed shop.
2016: 5 Startups
The number jumped to five. That's OMG Digital from Ghana, Kuhustle from Kenya, Instabug from Egypt as well as Paystack and Flutterwave from Nigeria.
Some of these have gone on to raise some significant amount of funding since then. OMG Digital raised US $1.1M, Instabug raised $1.7 million Seed round led by Accel, Flutterwave has raised at least $20 million while Paystack has raised over $10 million.
2017: 9 Startups
This is the year the figures really jumped. I was able to identify at least 9 startups that participated in both the summer and winter batches.
This included Releaf, Kangpe, Tizeti (Wifi.com.ng), Tress, Helium Health, BuyPower, Aella Credit, Kudi, Trade, and WaystoCap.
Some of these have gone on to raise money with Tizeti raising $2.1 Million and Moroccan WaystoCap raised $3 Million. Helium Health got $50,000 from Google Launchpad last year. While Ghana’s Trade has gone on to raise $2.2 Million according to its CrunchBase profile.
2018: 2 Startups (so far)