10 African startups selected for Techstars Toronto’s 2023 summer cohort

Godfrey Elimian
This selection underscores Techstars’ continuous commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship on the African continent

Techstars Toronto, a renowned accelerator program, has unveiled its impressive 2023 summer cohort, featuring ten promising African startups among a total of 24 companies. This edition is designed to celebrate a significant milestone in the accelerator’s history with its 100th direct investment, signalling its pivotal role in advancing not only Canada’s but also emerging markets’ tech ecosystems,

The startups, hailing from various African countries, bring diverse solutions to the global stage, addressing pressing challenges and opportunities across multiple industries. The startups are, CatalyzU (South Africa), MPOST (Kenya), Seso (Ghana), Ladder (Ghana), Payfi (Nigeria), Cutstruct (Nigeria), Chimoney (Nigeria), Reeple.ai (Nigeria), Oval (Nigeria), and Hulugram (Ethiopia).

This selection underscores Techstars’ continuous commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship on the African continent and its recognition of the region’s burgeoning tech talents.

Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto, expressed the program’s dedication to nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship. With an acceptance rate of just 1-2% amid a multitude of applicants, Techstars Toronto is playing a critical role in shaping the Canadian and global tech landscape.

“This 100th investment from our Toronto fund showcases our dedication to fostering innovation in Canada, and in emerging markets. Moreover, we are lifetime partners to these founders, with skin in the game,” Sharma affirmed.

Since its launch in 2017, Techstars Toronto has made its 100th investment into startups across the world; 40% of these startups are from Africa. The Toronto-based accelerator made its first African investment in 2019, through Nigerian payments infrastructure startup, Korapay. In the following year, it backed cryptocurrency exchange platform, Quidax and Fliqpay, a cross-border payment infrastructure startup.

10 African startups selected for Techstars Toronto's 2023 summer cohort
10 African startups selected for Techstars Toronto’s 2023 summer cohort

More on the Techstars Toronto 2023 summer cohort

Techstars’ impact extends beyond Canada’s borders. With a robust international network and locally operated accelerator programs, Techstars Toronto not only retains top tech talents in Canada but also attracts visionary tech entrepreneurs from around the world.

The 2023 cohort of 24 startups, focusing on the theme of “The Global Diaspora,” offers solutions that address a wide array of pressing global challenges. These startups span various sectors, from global payment systems and credit scoring for immigrants to international student sourcing, rental housing affordability, cross-border real estate, AI ethics, healthcare solutions, cyber risk assessment, and last-mile drone delivery.

In addition to providing funding and mentorship, Techstars Toronto offers these startups a platform to showcase their innovations during two Demo Days scheduled for October 4th and 5th. These events provide valuable exposure to potential investors and partners, furthering the startups’ growth prospects.

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Portfolios of the startups

  • Payfi (Nigeria): Helping International Students Access Affordable Housing.
  • Chimoney (Nigeria): A fintech startup that allows users to seamlessly send money globally via Emails, Phones, or Twitter, and easily cash out through Banks, Mobile Wallets, Crypto, Gift Cards, and more.
  • Reeple.ai (Nigeria): Helping African immigrants in the Diaspora access seamless financial services. 
  • Cutstruct (Nigeria): A building material marketplace, driving efficiency and transparency in construction.
  • Oval (Nigeria): Finance OS for growing businesses.
  • Hulugram (Ethiopia): Enabling social engagement for over 30 million internet users in Ethiopia via a chat-based platform.
  • Ladder (Ghana): AI-powered wealth management for people and businesses providing personalized financial advisory and accountancy services.
  • Seso (Ghana): Leveraging advanced technology and deep industry knowledge, Seso Global introduces trust and transparency to the African Real Estate market.
  • MPOST (Kenya): MPost empowers individuals in the developing world with virtual addresses, by using mobile numbers as official addresses for KYC, insurance, banking, and eCommerce, thereby building a digital infrastructure for seamless access and exchange.
  • CatalyzU (South Africa): CatalyzU vets, trains, & places Africa’s leading talent at global startups.

Techstars runs over 40 accelerators globally, including the recently launched Lagos-based outpost. Available data on the Techstars startup directory shows that aside from the Techstars Barclays Accelerator (that was held in Cape Town), more African startups are accepted into Techstars Toronto and New York.

Techstars’ accelerators, including its Toronto outpost, have invested in about 76 African companies, according to BD Funding Tracker and Techstars Directory.


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