Over the past years, American tech startup incubator, Y Combinator, has actively invested in hundreds of companies including, among others, Airbnb and Dropbox.
Y Combinator is known to expand ownership in it’s most successful companies as well as helping those that have trouble raising cash from elsewhere. For companies that have been funded by Y Combinator, the demo day is a big deal, where they not only get to present their companies to a room of specially invited guests, but also mingle with other founders and investors.
Recently, about 140 startups demoed at the Y Combinator's Winter 2016 Demo Day 1.
Here is a list of five interesting startups with products or service which are relevant to solving real problems in Africa.
What do they do: Online payments for African businesses.
Country: Nigeria 🇳🇬
Paystack is an online payment company which was founded in 2015 by Olusola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi. The startup helps Nigerian businesses to accept online payments using Mastercard, Visa and Verve cards from anyone, anywhere in the world. The integration is faster and it takes only 30 minutes instead of 3 weeks (21 days) with only 2 steps instead of 7 steps.
What do they do: Efficient import e-commerce for countries that lack it.
Country: Egypt 🇪🇬
Similar to Shypmate, Lynks lets Egyptian customers paste in shopping links for any US site, and handles all customs and shipping logistics and explains all involved fees up front.
What do they do: P2P shipping for Africa from the USA.
Country: Nigeria 🇳🇬
Have you ever tried to shop for an item in the US or elsewhere abroad and all had was one frustration after the other?
Maybe the shop won’t ship the item to you because you are in an Africa country?
Or maybe yes, they would ship it to you, but the shipping costs are extremely high and maybe the delivery date for your items may take days?
Shypmate is solving this problem. It uses inbound travelers to deliver the same items in 5-10 days for around $20.
All you need to do is meet the traveler at the airport to get your package. Currently, items are transported from the US to Ghana and Nigeria. Now, this is a good business! I am sure many more people in different African countries would benefit from this kind of services.
4. Zenysis Technologies
What do they do: Data systems for developing country governments.
Country: Ethiopia 🇪🇹
Zenysis is a company that offers data management systems for developing nations. The company offers information related to healthcare emergencies, humanitarian crises, and natural disasters for analysis.
It is currently $1 million pilot program with the Ethiopian government.
+ 1. WorldCover
What do they do: Crop insurance for the developing world.
Farmers depend largely on the weather for their crops to grow and to make money. Natural calamities like draught can be a major hinderance to farmers.
WorldCover offers insurance for farmers in the developing world. With their peer-to-peer lending platform, they help to protect farmers from natural disasters as well as give investors diversified returns and direct social impact.
The company uses satellites to measure rain fall and pay out automatically based on the rain data. The company was founded in January 2015by two MIT Graduates, Christopher Sheehan and Shiliang Tang.
Twice a year, the Y Combinator accepts applications for funding cycles. Having a good idea, which is clear, and concise helps alot. What ideas do they look for? They look for a wide range of ideas from energy, healthcare, internet infrastructure.
Cover Image, Sam Altman at Y Combinator Demo Day | TechCrunch