Wave is the only African startup on Y Combinator's list of top 50 companies by revenue

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June 28, 2023
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2 min read

Y Combinator has released a list of its companies with the highest revenues generated in 2022, with Senegalese fintech startup, Wave the only African startup to make the list. The list of 50 companies includes the likes of Monzo Bank, Coinbase, Zapier, Webflow, and Stripe.

The 50 companies collectively employ more than 70,000 people, and only 22% have offices outside the United States. The companies represented have raised a total of $40 billion and made more than $50 billion in revenue in 2022.

Y Combinator does not reveal the revenues recorded by each startup, but says all companies on the list met a certain revenue threshold.

Wave provides mobile money services, and, in 2021, became the first unicorn out of Francophone Africa after raising a $200 million Series A round. Currently, the startup has offices in Senegal, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, and The Gambia.

Despite going up against Orange, Wave quickly gained market share by charging 1% of the transaction value. Prior to this, Senegalese residents paid as much as 10% in fees for transactions.

This approach forced Orange to drop its charges to 0.8% in 2021, drawing the ire of users in the process. Orange also attempted to stop the startup from selling Orange airtime to its users.

Charging low fees was not the only way the startup gained users. It also introduced a QR code payment option that has seen huge adoption.

One of the most active investors on the continent, Y Combinator has invested in more than 80 African startups, including Flutterwave, Paystack, Kobo360, and Cowrywise. But despite being a unicorn, Flutterwave did not make the list.

However, this could be due to a common occurrence on the list. Startups in the S12 batch were in the majority, with startups in the W12, W14, and W15 batches following closely. However, all four startups mentioned were funded between 2016 and 2018.

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Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.

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