Four Nigerian startups got an important opportunity to pitch at the Demo Day event of the YCombinator accelerator program. Releaf.ng, 54Gene, Schoolable, and Thrive Agric were among 84 startups selected to pitch as part of the YCombinator cohorts for the Winter 2019 program.
YCombinator is a California-based tech accelerator program. The program works like a venture capital firm as well as a training program designed to optimize innovation. YCombinator invests $150,000 in startups in return for seven percent equity.
Over the last two decades, the program has been instrumental to the growth of several tech companies including a host of Nigerian startups.
Startups like PayStack, Flutterwave, Helium Health, and CowryWise are some notable Nigerian startups to have gone through the program. The latest set of Nigerian YCombinator cohorts largely comprise social ventures that aim to tackle important problems in health and agriculture.
There's a line.. A literal line of investors..to give money to startups.. @ycombinator brand is strong. & the game has changed. pic.twitter.com/qbsswy2ztN
— Peter Pham (@peterpham) March 18, 2019
Thrive Agric for instance is an agricultural technology company. It works as a crowdfunding platform to provide farmers with the needed capital to increase their production. As a crowdfunding platform, Thrive Agric is a win-win. It helps farmers raise money from everyday people looking to invest in agriculture.
Since its launch in 2016, Thrive Agric has grown to reach over 3,800 farmers directly and indirectly across Nigeria. It secured its first round of funding courtesy of Venture Platform in 2017. Last year, the startup was announced as a participant for the 500 Startups Program.
Another startup pitching at the YCombinator demo day is 54Gene, a medical startup. Based in Lagos and San Francisco, 54Gene aims to unlock vital details about people and their health using just their DNA.
According to the company, understanding genetic markers is key to opening a world of new medical possibilities. 54Gene offers genetic testing for Africans providing reports on nutrition, health, fitness and weight loss, carrier status, personal traits, and ancestry.
#WakandaForever @ycombinator Alumni Demo Day #YCW19 with my guy @thejohnoke. Cc: @NALAmoney @thewalletng #Ycombinator pic.twitter.com/P3eV0Bw3CB
— Benjamin Fernandes 🇹🇿 (@Benji_Fernandes) March 17, 2019
Releaf.ng, an oldtimer in the YCombinator program, is a digital platform for buying and selling of agricultural products. The platform aims to simplify the supply chains system in the agro industry and make it easy for farmers to get their products to the market. The startup made its YCombinator debut in 2017. It secured $120,000 equity investment as a result.
Schoolable is the fourth Nigerian startup to pitch at the YCombinator Demo Day. Popularly known as AllPro, Schoolable is a fintech providing financing for schools. The startup analyzes the data generated by school management softwares to understand several aspects about their operations and gauge their credit worthiness. The startup is backed by Nigerian VC firm, MicroTraction.
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