Nigeria, Egypt dominate as 10 African startups pitch on Y Combinator’s W21 Demo Day

March 23, 2021 · 3 min read
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In 2019, our then startup editor, Ifeanyi Ndiomewese, analysed how a growing infatuation with VC funding was driving Nigerian startups towards a US-based accelerator, Y Combinator. Since then, Nigerian, nay African, startups have been getting increased attention. 

The recent successes of Flutterwave and Paystack, two of Africa’s earliest YC-backed companies, have seemingly increased the attractiveness of these companies in the eyes of founders and investors. 

According to the West African Startup Decade Report, over 41% of West African startups that cumulatively raised $1m or more in the last decade went through an accelerator. And only 1 in 17 startups that raised up to a million dollars closed shop.

Apparently, available data points more to the importance of accelerators, and with companies like Stripe and Airbnb in its portfolio, few accelerators have bragging rights like Y Combinator.

Twice a year, Y Combinator invests $125k (formerly $150k) in selected startups, in exchange for 7% equity.

Unlike last year, where it held both its winter and summer Demo Days in two days, it was a single day for the Winter 2021 batch.

On March 23, 2021, 319 startups from 41 countries pitched, attracting attention from more than 2,400 investors. Only ten African startups pitched, slightly less than the 12 selected in 2020. Unsurprisingly, most of them are fintech companies.

Five Nigerian startups featured in this session, three from Egypt, and one each from Ivory Coast and Kenya. They are:

Mono (Nigeria)

With plans to build Plaid for Africa, Mono is an API fintech platform that enables companies and developers to access financial accounts for historical and real-time transactions, balances, bank statements, credits, and spending patterns of a customer.

It’s founded by Abdulhamid Hassan, ex-Product Manager, Paystack; and Prakhar Singh, who previously founded

Djamo (Ivory Coast)

Djamo is challenger bank in that is looking to help deepen financial inclusion in francophone Africa. For all the financial innovation that takes place in Africa, the francophone region still presents a tough terrain. 

Hassan Bourgi and Regis Bamba are the founders of this interesting startup. 

Dayra (Egypt)

Founded by Omar Ekram, Dayra is an API-fintech platform that allows Egyptian businesses to offer financial services like loans to unbanked workers and customers.

Kidato (Kenya)

Founded by Sam Gichuru, Kidato is an edtech platform that seeks to bring world-class education to school pupils at a much cheaper rate and with much better conditions than private schools.

Blueloop – Flux (Nigeria)

Founded by Ben Eluan, Osezele Orukpe, and Israel Akintunde, Blueloop is a payments startup that wants to solve issues with remittances through its remittance product, Flux. 

The platform combines the best features of decentralised finance and fiat to help people send money in and out of the country seamlessly.

NowPay (Egypt)

Nowpay is a fintech company looking to manage the financial wellbeing of employees.

Founded by Sabry Abuelenien and Mostafa Ashour, the startup helps corporates offer salary advances to employees, helps with savings, budgeting, and borrowing.

Prospa (Nigeria)

Prospa is a challenger bank founded by Frederick Obasi and Rodney Jackson-Cole that helps micro-businesses make international payments to more than ten countries including China, Kenya, the UK, and the US.

Sendbox (Nigeria)

Sendbox is the self-styled “fulfillment by Amazon for African merchants”. The startup offers services like shipping and escrow payments to merchants in Nigeria. 

The company was founded by Emotu Balogun, and Olusegun Afolahan to help merchants deliver goods within and outside Nigeria.

Flextock (Egypt)

Flextock provides end-to-end fulfilment services for businesses in Egypt. Founded by Mohamed Mossaad and Enas Siam, the startup also manages business inventory, pick, pack, and ship orders, as well as real-time visibility.

Vendease (Nigeria)

Vendease is a marketplace that allows restaurants in Nigeria to source foods directly from farms and food manufacturers.

Tunde Kara, Olumide Fayankin, Gatumi Aliyu, and Wale Oyepeju founded Vendease.

Emmanuel Paul

Emmanuel Paul


Writer and Narrator.  Tech, business and policy analysis is my daily bread. Looking to chat? Catch up with me, @eruskkii, on Twitter or send a mail to

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