Nigerian Fintech Startup Accepted Into Y-Combinator Accelerator Program

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

 


Nigerian fintech startup CowryWise has been accepted into Silicon Valley-based tech incubator Y Combinator‘s latest accelerator program.

Along with eight other startups, the Nigerian fintech firm has been included in the Y Combinator Summer 2018 Batch, according to Techpoint.

CowryWise is a secure online savings and investment platform that helps Nigerians to work towards their financial goals through return on investments made on the digital platform.

The startup provides access to digital investment tools which are usually only available to high net worth individuals, giving young Africans the opportunity to invest in high-yield government bonds through their app, Techcrunch reports.

The innovative nature of this business was recognized by Y Combinator, perhaps the world’s most powerful startup accelerator program. The founders of CowryWise will head to Silicon Valley for three months, joining eight other startups from around the globe in an incubation program, according to Y Combinator.

Acceptance to the program means that the Nigerian startup will receive $120,000 in funding, in addition to a demo day at the end of the program which gives them the opportunity to pitch for additional investment.

That funding boost comes only a month after CowryWise received a $15,000 seed investment from Nigerian early-stage fund Microtraction, according to DisruptAfrica.

accelerator program
Silicon Valley accelerator program Y Combinator has supported the growth of many African startups. Photo – Flickr

CowryWise is not the only Nigerian startup that is currently making the most of opportunities through Y Combinator.

Logistics startup Kobo360 is preparing to take part in the accelerator program, and in the meanwhile has raised $1.2 million in pre-seed funding, according to Pulse.

Y Combinator accelerator program boosting African startups

There are a few major success stories from an African perspective that have benefited from being part of the Y Combinator program in recent years.

Earlier this month Francophone social impact fund Gaia made an investment in Senegalese solar startup Oolu, a Y Combinator graduate, according to Weetracker.

The investment amount was not made public, but it’s part of a Series B round of funding for the West African off-grid solar startup.

Oolu graduated from Silicon Valley-based tech incubator in 2015, with the seed funding provider stepping up as one of the startup’s earliest investors.

In 2017 Oolu raised $3.2 million in a Series A round of funding led by Swiss-based impact ventures investment firm Persistent Energy Capital (PEC), with the participation of Y Combinator and other seed investors, according to PVTech.

Last year Y Combinator-backed Ghanaian media startup OMG Digital raised $1.1 million in seed funding to help fulfil its growing reputation as the “BuzzFeed of Africa”, Techpoint reported.

OMG Voice, the primary website run by the group, operates with versions in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. The company creates content for millennials including listicles, pictorials, videos and memes with an African audience in mind.

Another success story is Nigerian fintech startup Flutterwave, which provides a modern transaction infrastructure that is designed to allow payments to be made and accepted via mobile.

Following their time as part of the Y Combinator program, the startup raised over $10 million in a Series A funding round during 2017, according to iAfrikan.