The why behind the 'YC for Africa'

From YC Advocate To Replacing YC: Inside Iyin Aboyeji’s Bold Bid

By  |  January 22, 2024

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, the Nigerian tech entrepreneur and investor notable for co-founding two African tech unicorns, says he’s done a bit of a one-eighty on his long-held conviction in the indispensable role of the renowned global startup accelerator, Y Combinator (YC), in Africa's tech scene.

“For a long time, I told anyone who cared to listen that the YC of Africa is YC and there was no need for an African accelerator,” he shares in a recent LinkedIn post.

“I've changed my mind,” Aboyeji goes on. “This week my partner Mia von Koschitzky-Kimani and I announced that we are for the first time launching a full-fledged accelerator program that we hope will become the ‘YC for Africa’.”

Aboyeji and Mia von Koschitzky-Kimani recently announced the launch of Accelerate Africa, a new accelerator program backed by a USD 750 K USAID grant. The initiative aims to become a catalyst for the next wave of African startups and fill a void left by the retreating global investors.

The why behind the ‘YC for Africa’

For a long time, global accelerators like YC and Techstars have provided early-stage African startups with a sure path to global scale with well-renowned global investors; YC-backed African startups have cumulatively raised over USD 1 B.  Now, however, Accelerate Africa emerges against the backdrop of a changing venture capital landscape.

Global accelerators and funders, including the renowned YC, are cutting back interest in Africa. After adding dozens of African startups to its portfolio in recent years taking the count to 95, only three African startups made it into the YC’s Summer 2023 batch.

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