Y Combinator is a venture capital (VC) firm that was founded in March 2005. The VC firm invests $125,000 in early stage startups in return for some equity in the business.
Y Combinator has selects startups to invest in during two application sessions in a year. The first round of applications is received between January and March and is called the Winter batch while the second round of applications is received between June and August and is referred to as the Summer batch.
Since 2005, YC has invested in more than 3,000 companies from different parts of the world and in different industries. The companies are selected from edtech, fintech, Agritech and other sectors. In it’s 2021 Winter batch which is rounding up, the VC firm has selected over 273 startups to join it’s family with about 10 of them being from Africa.
Why startups apply to YC
A selection into YC makes a seed funding of $125,000 available to the startup, while that may be the first obvious benefit, it is the smallest benefit that the selected startups get. The startups participate in the three month Startup School program by the VC firm. YC works with the entrepreneurs on their startup ideas and helps them see which areas have the highest potential, what can be added or removed to build products that their consumers want, areas that should be focused on and other crucial aspects of business.
The program features weekly talks from other startup founders and top executives from well-known tech companies like Google. The VC firm works intensively with the companies for three months, to get them into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors at the demo day. The 3-month program ends in a demo day where the startups can attract more funding from investors by pitching their business.
YC has a vast alumni body of over 6,000 members who provide support, connection and assist other entrepreneurs in the YC community.
Some of the Nigerian startups who are now part of Y Combinator are Flutterwave, PayStack, Mono, Blueloop, BuyCoins, Wallet, Helium Health, Tizeti, Termii and Cowrywise. Fintech companies dominate Africa’s list of startups in YC’s community.
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While no African fashion startup has been accepted into YC yet, there are presently 11 fashion startups that have been accepted into the program and have received funding. Watch our for the full list here.
Feature image credit: Eastbaystartups.org