Y Combinator, a US startup accelerator that offers seed funding to a wide range of startups, released the list of its top companies by valuation as of January 2021.
The list was put together to help potential employees, partners and late-stage investors get to know a wider set of YC companies.
Flutterwave, valued at $150 million, is the only African startup featured on the list and as Y Combinator’s most valuable startup in Africa.
Over the years, we have seen more Nigerian startups like Paystack, Buycoins, Cowrywise amongst others get into the accelerator program.
- Since launching in 2005, YC has invested in more than 2,000 startups around the world – investing between $125k-$150k for a 7% equity.
- The accelerator now has more than 125 companies valued at $150M+ and more than 25 at $1B+
- The number of global startups on YC’s list is 134 and Flutterwave ranked 115 with Airbnb, DoorDash, and Stripe being top of the list.
According to Y Combinator,
- “Valuation is the most commonly available metric to compare companies in the startup world. Other metrics, like revenue, are more often kept private. It’s worth noting that we have several impressive companies who would appear on the list or rank even higher if we counted other metrics.”
Another Nigerian fintech missing from the list is Paystack. Despite getting acquired by fellow Y Combinator alumni, Stripe, for $200million – a figure higher than Flutterwave’s $150million.
Y Combinator added,
- “For top exits, we counted only the money that went to the cap table at the time of acquisition. We did not include retention bonuses or the value founders and investors received from an acquiring company’s stock post-liquidation event.”
The accelerator also noted that this is not an exhaustive list as it allowed some alumni startups to opt out of being listed for any reason. This might be the case for the six-year-old startup, Paystack.
What to expect
As more African startups backed by YC raise funding this year, the YC list will likely feature more than 1 African startup next year.
Airbnb and two other companies that could follow Twitter’s Ghanaian playbook
After Twitter, these companies might be moving to Africa next.
On the back of Twitter’s monumental announcement to situate its regional headquarters in Ghana, Germany announced that it was choosing the Gold-Coast as the location for its German-West African Centre for Global Health and Pandemic Prevention – another critical blow for Africa’s most populous country and self-acclaimed ‘giant of Africa.’
Despite Nigeria’s burgeoning reputation in technology, its propensity for government and regulatory interference, rising insecurity, inflation, poor capital repatriation policies, and infringement on free speech have been identified as reasons why foreign organizations are increasingly overlooking the country. So, we examine 3 organizations ripe for African expansion that could follow in Twitter’s footsteps.
The $75bn online vacation rental marketplace has quietly made inroads into Africa over the last couple of years allowing listings from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and other African countries as part of the 220+ countries and regions it operates.
Over the past few years, destinations across Africa have emerged to become some of the fastest-growing Airbnb markets in the world.
However, the rental giant continues to operate a remote presence in Africa as none of its 23 offices is situated on the continent. But that may soon change as Africans increasingly adopt the service.
Despite iPhone sales largely growing year on year, Apple doesn’t have a physical office in Africa. In 2015, it was rumoured that Apple was looking to establish a South African office in an effort to grow its presence in the continent’s local market but not much has been heard about this.
In countries where the tech giant doesn’t have a physical office, Apple works with the local resellers to service its numerous customers.
The African market is driven more by the demand for Apple products like mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. With this high demand, it is highly probable that the company will consider a physical location in Africa in the near future.
Another company that is likely to have a physical presence in Africa in the near future is Shopify. The multinational e-commerce platform that allows you to host your store online already has an online presence in Africa and has partnered with leading payment providers on the continent to allow users pay for services in their local currency. Shopify powers over 1.7 million businesses in more than 175 countries.
What this means
Africa currently has the youngest and second-largest population in the world. Massive population growth and a rising middle class have created millions of new consumers hungry for products and services. This is a large market for tech companies that are already operational in other countries to tap into. Currently, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and several others are already exploring this opportunity.
TikTok’s 38 year-old founder is worth $35.5 billion – Here’s what we know
At 38 years old, Zhang Yiming is the 39th richest man in the world.
TikTok a video sharing app was named the most downloaded app of the first quarter of 2021 but not much is known about its founder. The app now has over 689 million active users worldwide according to statistics from oberlo.com. It has also been downloaded over 2 billion times on App Store and Google Playstore. It is arguably the most popular video-sharing app out there and the numbers keep growing.
TikTok was able to grow at a faster rate than Facebook and Instagram since its startup. The man behind this massive success is currently worth $35.5 billion and he is our person of interest today.
Meet Zhang Yiming, the founder of Bytedance
38-year-old Zhang Yiming is the CEO and Founder of ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok. Zhang Yiming majored in microelectronics and software engineering at Nankai University. He worked for various tech startups including Microsoft before settling to start his own company.
The billionaire leads a very secretive lifestyle. He founded ByteDance back in 2012 and steered it all the way to financial success. He is currently worth $35.5 billion but his net worth is well on its way to doubling based on recent valuations.
ByteDance has two main flagship products – Toutiao, an AI-backed news aggregator and TikTok which he founded later after the success of Toutiao.
Revisiting the success of TikTok
Last year Zhang Yiming’s ByteDance was regarded as the most valuable startup in the world. TikTok became the most downloaded iOS app worldwide in the first quarter of 2019, according to the US research app Sensor Tower.
TikTok is available in 155 countries and in 75 languages.
Bytedance’s first major valuation was in 2018 where it was valued at $75bn according to Forbes. This was followed by another valuation which put it at $140bn according to CB Insights.
The latest 2021 valuation places ByteDance at over $250bn according to the South China morning post.
Zhang Yiming owns a quarter of ByteDance and with this recent valuation, his net worth is set to grow to $60bn according to experts in the field.
Donald Trump scare
The former president of the United States was on the verge of banning TikTok in the country. He claimed the App has ties to the Chinese government. This would have been a setback giving that the application is quite popular among US millennials and Gen Z. Donald Trump lost his re-election bid and very little has been said by the Biden administration on the issue.
What you should know
- At 38 years old, Zhang Yiming is the 39th richest man in the world. His parents were civil servants.
- The popularity of TikTok in the United States has raised concerns from US regulators.
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