Getting into Y Combinator is the dream of many startup founders and this is due to the fact that YC is one of the best startup accelerators in the world.
If you are looking for capital for your startup, you need world-class mentorship and a network of great talents and business founders, then YC is definitely.
This is not the only reason you may want to get into the YC startup accelerator program, but the fact that they give more cash for low equity is a big deal.
Oh, if you are new to all these startups of a thing, you may not understand what is YCombinator or what they do. Let’s quickly talk about what YC is;
What is Y Combinator?
Y Combinator or simply “YC” is a startup accelerator launched in March 2005. Ever since then, the superstar accelerator has over 3,000 strong companies in its portfolio. Y Combinator startups include the likes of Stripe, Twitch, Reddit, and many others including the biggest startups in Africa like Flutterwave.
YC started its accelerator program in Boston and Mountain View before it expanded to San Francisco in 2019, and the program has been entirely remote since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who can apply to YC?
Him, she, they, you, and anybody with a good and working business idea. It doesn’t matter your skin color or where you live, anybody can apply to Y Combinator.
Why should I apply to YC?
If you have a crazy idea but would like some cash, experienced mentors and to join the network of great and successful entrepreneurs, Y Combinator will give you all the opportunities in one.
They (YCs) know that most applicants are first-time entrepreneurs, the whole process is very simple and made to favor you.
- Aside from that, once your application is accepted, YC will give you $125k for 7% equity of your startup to start building your idea to the point you are ready for a more significant scaling.
You are not losing anything, they are risky $125k for just 7% equity, that’s a lot of money and sacrifice.
- You also participate in a 3-months program where you meet with other companies. The program creates a competitive environment that will motivate you to create the best product. It ends with a demo day where you present your products to investors to try and raise more money for your startup
NOTE: YC doesn’t entirely end after three months, only the formal parts do. They continue to give advice and introductions for as long as the startups need.
- The reputation speaks! Y Combinator is the biggest and most successful startup accelerator as at the time of writing this blog post. They have a lot of Unicorns in their portfolio and have generated over $300 billion.
You don’t have to Network to meet founders or have a series of meetings and lengthy conversations behind long desks giving detailed financial plans. YC summarizes everything into a detailed application on their website that anyone can fill out. They decide who they fund based on just a ten minutes interview.
When should I apply to YC?
There’s no wrong time for your startup to apply to YC. This means you can neither be too early nor too late. Your company can not be too early. Any idea you have about the time you should apply is a roadblock that you are setting for yourself.
You don’t need to have a particular amount of stuff before you feel like you’re ready. Even if your startup hasn’t launched, apply, according to YC; “you don’t have anything to lose”.
In the same light, you cannot be too late to apply to YC. A lot of companies apply after raising money, hiring employees, and launching.
The only thing that should stop you is if you’re not planning on developing your company. If you don’t have plans for your company, then you definitely should not apply. YC is not ready to invest in your side hustle. You must be ready to put in your all or you shouldn’t apply at all.
Requirements for YC’s Application?
The requirements are so simple, have a good team, a good idea that creates value, and a billion-dollar market.
Oh, that sounds too easy. But let me break it down more
Your team should consist of the right set of people that cannot only work with you but also believe in your idea. The team should be consistent. You shouldn’t have a co-founder that has doubts about your idea or the company.
They are investing in the people behind the idea, if the people are not capable, then the idea won’t fly out.
Y Combinator really like a startup that follows ensure the following;
- You MUST have a person with technical background on your team
- Each of your co-founders MUST have at least 10% equity
- All the co-founders MUST fill out the application form: the CEO will fill the main form, while you will add your co-founder’s email during the filling process and YC will send them what to fill.
If you don’t have a co-founder and you need one, YC has something for people like you. Simply sign up for an account and enable “matching” on your profile, you will start to see people who match up with your idea or the type of co-founder you may need.
Lastly, if your idea is not a billion-dollar idea, it will be tough, it has to be big, that is what they need, not a side-hustle.
So, What Makes a Good YC Application?
So many people don’t even get selected for the interview due to many misconceptions about how your application should look. Still, you’re going to see that writing a YC application is not rocket science.
The following are the few steps to writing a successful YC application:
Attend the Y Combinator Startup School
This is not necessary at all, but then I think it should be the first thing to do especially if you are a first-time founder of a startup. The school is totally FREE and you will from big entrepreneurs. They will teach you what you need to know right from the start to the time when to apply for funding.
The school is different from the 3-months program when you are accepted, the school is before you even apply. And you may decide not to apply to YC and still attend the school.
Oh, lest I forget, the school is currently 100% online.
If you don’t have the time to keep up with the school, you watch the videos on YC’s YouTube channel.
Your application should be fully filled out
Don’t leave stones unturned in your application. Make sure you fill in every possible question asked. They are not hard
You’re not filling out a college application of course but attention should be given to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Understand that someone will actually read it.
Instructions given concerning the video are expected to be followed. The video is expected to be one minute long. You don’t need to make a movie out of it in an attempt to seek attention or do something extra.
Someone will watch the video, don’t make it complicated for that person, just a minute video of the founders introducing each other, and do not read any script! Be natural, do the video as if you are shooting a random WhatsApp video call.
All the founders should be in the founders’ video. It’s an opportunity for YC to know your team. The video shouldn’t be done by just one person or some of the members.
Members of the team not being on the video are already showing that your team isn’t taking the company seriously and you don’t want whoever is watching it to think that.
A quick question;
What if I and my co-founders are living very far from each other?
YC knows that this will happen in most cases, that is they allow founders to send any video they like as long all the co-founders are there.
What you can simply do is use a teleconferencing app like Zoom, Google hangout, or Meet to do the video. Start a meeting for all the founders and screen record but ensure everybody can be seen and audible.
Clarity of thought
What you are saying should be clear and audible enough, don’t imitate any tongue but be yourself. Y Combinator has never said they find it difficult to understand what a Nigerian was saying.
Also, your expressions should be very lucid. Remember you can’t convince someone if they can’t understand what you’re saying and besides it’s an application, not a novel.
In answering the questions, economize your words as much as possible and don’t write something too long. Don’t let your reader get bored in the process. A few sentences that contain the main ideas are better than pages and pages and you can’t make a head or tail out of it.
Note: Do not use technical words thinking that you will use that to entice them or make them feel you are brilliant enough to execute your idea, be simple, natural, and straightforward.
Clarity of idea
Your application should be clear about who and what you are doing. Don’t try to obfuscate the whole idea. You should very well explain what you’re building, who’s building the product, how it works if you’ve launched, and basic things like that. You shouldn’t try to hide anything about your idea.
Here are some tips:
- Summarize what you are building in a simple word, not more than 50 characters. This is not easy as you have a lot of things on your head, but try to. A good head up is to reference your startup idea to a popular company, E.g Homesilo is a Zillow for Africa, or if you can find anything catching without referencing.
The YC Interview
The interview is ten minutes long. The questions are basic questions to know more about your business.
Steps to prepare for the Y Combinator’s Interview:
- Don’t think too long about the questions: In preparing for the interview instead of planning your answers to every question, you should focus more on developing your product before the interview.
This will help you answer any questions about your product better. It’s not really good for your listeners to detect a kind of memorized speech in what you’re saying. You don’t expect anyone to invest in your business if you can’t freely talk about it without a rehearsal.
- Don’t try to be exciting: You shouldn’t try to just dazzle your listeners instead just focus on answering the questions, you are not in an audition.
- Be concise: Remember that you have just ten minutes for the interview so you have to make sure that your listeners can get everything they need. You are supposed to tell what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how it will solve a problem to make it thrive in the market.
Don’t try to be all fancy in your expressions.
- Talk about numbers, not just theories and hopes: It’s important to talk about the statistics, the problems you might face, and how you plan to handle them. How much have you made, plan to make, or how many people have joined your waitlist?
- Don’t be over confidence: In the interview don’t be too confident that everything will work out the way it should because that denotes a lack of self-awareness. Your interviewers understand that it’s a business and it’s risky.
You should show that you understand that and you’re ready to do your best.
Telling them you will make $1bn in the first two years is still part of overconfidence, simply learn how to use words like “estimate”, “can”, “may” etc.
For tailored tips, I advise you to find yourself mentors or you can reach out to people who have applied to Y Combinator or any startup accelerator, and ask them to give you some tips, they will be glad to.
What happens if you’re not accepted into Y Combinator?
If you do not get in, Y Combinator will send an email with feedback. The feedback contains the things YC is concerned about. It’s important to take the feedback into consideration and this will help you when reapplying.
Thousand of startups with crazy ideas and some with tractions are applying to get into Y Combinator which they can only pick a few hundred. So, it’s okay to not get accepted the first time. The good news is you can totally reapply. It is important to show progress from your first application to the second one.
The skills you need for a successful interview are what you need to be a successful founder.
Just remember to be yourself in your application and interview. Don’t try to be weird or extreme and you would most likely make it to YC. And if you don’t, it’s perfectly okay to try again.
You’ve got nothing to lose, just apply!
To get started, go to https://apply.ycombinator.com/ and you are good to go.
DISCLAIMER: This post should be taken as a piece of online information telling you what you can do, and should not be consumed to replace Y Combinator’s policy and guidelines.
Are you building a startup that you would like us to talk about here on gbolamedia.com? kindly send us a message via hello[at]gbolamedia.com
Microsoft Announces GitHub for Startups (It’s for the big guys)
Like co-pilot, GitHub for Startups is what startup founders need to build, collaborate and ship their product from idea to IPO. Let’s talk about the requirements and how you can apply.
Ever since Microsoft acquires Github, we’ve been seeing some features such as the GitHub co-pilot, the ReadMe project, and many other improvements. The company recently announced a new feature or let me say a new plan and they called it “GitHub for Startups”
In case you don’t know what is GitHub, It is the world’s largest Internet hosting service for software development and version control using Git. Developers in Nigeria can easily work with developers in the United States, India, Canada, and any part of the world.
The company which was acquired by Microsoft in 2018 makes it easy for software developers to collaborate faster and more effectively. Currently, over 80 million developers across the world use GitHub.
Companies like Slack, Coinbase, Spotify, Stripe, and some unicorn startups in the world make use of GitHub for collaboration and most importantly, the enterprise plan because of features like security.
What is GitHub for Startups?
GitHub for Startups is simply GitHub’s enterprise plan for startups.
To understand this, GitHub is free for developers to use, but if you want to get more from using GitHub, you can subscribe to any of its premium plans. Currently, there are 3 pricing plans on GitHub, their pricing is as follows;
- Free – $0
- Team – $48/yr for each user
- Enterprise – $252/yr for each user
If you have 10 developers working in your startup, and you are using GitHub’s enterprise plan, you will be paying $2,520 per year. It increases as the number of developers in your startup increases.
But if you have a startup with a number of developers up to 20 but not more than that, this enterprise plan will be free for you courtesy of GitHub for Startups. It seems like good stuff, right? But don’t answer yet until you know the requirements.
GitHub partners with investors for GitHub for Startups
GitHub is a code-sharing and hosting platform, and now they are dealing with startups. So they partner with top investors, incubators, accelerators, and VCs to make this program more effective. Currently, the partners include;
- Y Combinator
- Andreessen Horowitz
These are five of the biggest startup accelerators in the world right now. GitHub is still accepting applications from those investors or startups who wish to be part of this.
If you have a tech hub, you run a startup ecosystem program, you are an incubator/accelerator, or you are a venture capitalist, click on apply to become a partner on this page.
Back to startup founders or representatives, the question you may have in mind right now is;
What are the Benefits of GitHub for Startups?
If your startup is eligible, you will enjoy all features contained in GitHub’s top premium (Enterprise) plan for up to 20 seats. Not only that, but because it’s for startups, you will also enjoy;
- Access to the best DevOps platform to build your startup with all the technical or developers’ tools you need.
- Also, product guidance for your startup is important to take your startup to the next level because writing code is not always enough.
The question you are asking yourself right now is; “Will my startup be eligible for this GitHub for Startups offer?” Well, I’m partially disappointed because most “startups” who are just starting out and can’t afford this will need to continue using their free organization feature on GitHub because of the requirements…
Requirements for GitHub for Startups
There are just two requirements;
Early-stage but funded startups
The term “early-stage” doesn’t mean “any startup that’s just growing”. If you are just building and you haven’t raised any funds, just forget about GitHub for Startups.
If you are smart enough to say you’ve been funded when you are not, you are just shooting yourself because GitHub has partnered with venture capitalists, investors, and accelerators. It’s very easy for GitHub to verify each application.
You haven’t received GitHub’s Enterprise credit
If by chance your organization has received GitHub enterprise credit before, then this offer is not for you because you’ve enjoyed the offers contained in the GitHub for Startups even before it is publicly released.
If you have been funded up to Series A (not pre-seed o), you can apply for this offer. Here is how to;
How to apply for GitHub for Startups
- Click on “Apply now” on this page to get started. A modal will appear, where you are to:
- Fill in your startup details and then,
- Fill in your billing details, that’s where they will deduct the subscription fee when the first year free plan expires. Then finally,
- Accept GitHub’s terms and Click the sign-up button.
That’s all, then wait for a response. If you have any questions, there is an email address you can contact on the page.
RECOMMENDED: How to find the perfect co-founder for your startup
A personal opinion on this GitHub for Startups
GitHub for Startups is for the big guys for startups who are really in the idea stage, this is what GitHub thinks is fair for them.
It’s like a marketing strategy, if they allow every nook and cranny of startups, it won’t be a good business because, at the end of the first year, many of these startups won’t be able to continue using the plan because they can’t afford it.
Even though the startups they are accepting can afford to spend $20,000 to subscribe for the next 5 years, GitHub still feels it’s better to onboard them first by allowing them to taste the good vibes that come with the enterprise plan because some funded startups use the free plan up till date.
If they see how amazing the enterprise plan is, they won’t be doubting maybe to start paying for it or not.
It’s just like when GitHub co-pilot was released, the AI is so amazing that it can help you write your code with just little editing from you. After a year of its free trial, GitHub started charging for it and I believe some developers will pay because they’ve seen how helpful it is.
Complete Guide to Finding the Right Co-Founder for Your Startup
Building a successful startup requires a lot of steps but a major one is finding the right co-founder or co-founders. Compared to marketing, financing and other particular factors in creating a successful business, finding the right co-founder is quite a herculean task.
If you are not lucky to find the right co-founder, then your startup is dead already unless you get the perfect one as soon as possible.
Some people are so selfish that they don’t want anybody to join hands with them as executives in building a business, they want to have 100% ownership of the startup. If you have this kind of mentality, you should rethink or start a small business and take full control of it.
But if you are thinking of building the next unicorn, then you need people to work with you.
In this blog post, you will learn how to can find the right co-founder that will help you build that idea in your head. But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of finding the perfect co-founder, let’s answer these 3 important questions:
- Who is a co-founder?
- Why do I need a co-founder?
- What are the qualities of the right co-founder?
Who is a Co-Founder?
According to Indeed.com, a co-founder is a member of the executive team who played a role in the founding of a company. This person typically works with other founders to create and launch a business.
You know that a founder is someone with the idea of a business. But due to the fact that no one is an island of knowledge, oftentimes a founder may not have enough funds to finance the idea, or the human resources required to bring the idea to reality. That’s when the idea of having a co-founder comes in.
A co-founder works hand-in-hand with the founder to establish the business and make it successful.
This means that it is possible for a company to have both a founder and co-founder(s) if the business idea came from one person and the other just came later to implement it. In another light, if two or more people put their heads together to formulate the business idea, then they are all co-founders.
A co-founder Vs a CEO
A co-founder may or may not be the CEO. A CEO is the Chief Executive Officer, which means that a CEO is the acting leader of the organization. Most times a founder/co-founder is also the CEO but sometimes a more experienced CEO is hired. Also, a hired CEO does not necessarily take the title of the co-founder since they may not actually take part in building the platform.
The job of a CEO is to coordinate and lead the team, create goals and targets, communicate with other entities, and shareholders, access risks, and so on. So basically the roles of a co-founder and CEO matter but one person can still hold the same title.
Why Do I Need a Co-Founder?
In founding a startup, you can decide to do it solo but it is much better to have a helping hand. The following are a few reasons why you may need to consider having a co-founder:
Being a solo founder is stressful
Starting a business is not an easy task. You will experience a reasonable amount of pressure In trying to put everything in place. The process; ranging from writing code, down to marketing, is not going to be a piece of cake. Sure you might have other employees to share the workload with you but there is a limit to where employees can help you that’s why you need a partner.
“Two heads are better than one.” There will come a time when you might get stuck and need someone to help you up. Note that there is a difference between an advisor and a partner. You might get external advice, fine but you can’t expect someone that is not in it with you to actually know exactly what you need.
In starting up a business you’re in some kind of emotional roller-coaster due to the ups and downs. In this situation, you need someone to share the burden.
In this situation, a close friend or family member will not give you the kind of support you need at that time and to your employees, well you’re their boss and there’s a limit. So, you need a partner.
Think about finances and VCs
Building a startup can be pretty expensive and chances of raising funds or getting donations when you don’t have your product or the prototype ready yet are pretty low. The opportunity of working with a co-founder allows you to share the early costs of the business.
Recommended: YCombinator startup application guide
Besides, it’s very rare to find investors investing in a one-man business. If you’re concerned about your equity, think of this. Would you rather have 100% equity in a company worth $30,000 or 50% equity in a company worth $100,000?
The record of successful companies
Looking at a list of the most successful unicorns in the history of startups like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook, to mention a few. They all had co-founders when they first started. Although, many people forget this point because as time goes on the company gets associated with one particular person, especially the CEO who usually becomes prominent and famous.
For example when we think of Microsoft – Bill Gates, Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg. But, when we look into the earliest stages we would realize that they were co-founders. This should give a kind of insight into what pattern to follow as to choosing a co-founder or not.
What are the qualities of a good co-founder?
Now that you’re convinced you really need a co-founder, don’t stand jumping into the river without knowing how deep it is. I mean, you don’t select just anybody to be your co-founder.
There are some important criteria that the person you would want to consider as a co-founder must possess. Remember that you’re not aiming at a short-term relationship. Let’s take a look at some of them.
One of the mistakes people make in choosing a co-founder is choosing someone with the same skills they have. You should be looking for someone who is skilled in the areas you are not very skilled in.
If you’re good at building the product and writing the codes then ideally you should have a co-founder who is good at marketing, talking to users, and getting customers.
If you are going to have a team of co-founders you should be looking for varied skill sets not a group of duplicates.
Similar core values and vision
Your co-founder should be of a like mindset. If your vision is to take your business to the global stage then your co-founder has to understand and believe in it. If you have a can-do attitude and an always-ready spirit you most likely wouldn’t want someone who believes in taking things slowly and one at a time.
Although people have different ways of doing things that work differently for different people, you need a co-founder whose views go alongside yours or are at least very similar.
Your co-founder should be someone who understands how businesses work. Not someone who thinks you will start making profits immediately after you start the business. An unrealistic co-founder will lose interest quite easily when their fantasies are not met.
Other qualities the right co-founder should include:
- A co-founder should be trustworthy
- S/he should be committed to the goal as you
- The co-founder should always be ready to adapt to new changes
- Ability to handle conflict and stress
- Such co-founders should be creative with ideas
Now to the bigger question, “How can I find the right co-founder?”.
When looking for the right co-founder, the best place to start looking is among people you already know, your co-worker or your course-mate or close friends. That is of course if you can find someone with the skills you are looking for.
And even if you can’t find a suitable person in your social circle, it’s okay. Just check the steps align below to know how you can get the right partner for you.
5 Ways to Find the Right Co-founder for your Startup
Explore your social circle
If you don’t have someone who has the skills you are looking for in your social circle then why don’t you try expanding your circle? Who knows, someone you know might actually know someone, who probably knows someone with the skillset or experience you’re looking for.
You could make a list of your tech friends then ask each one of them if they know someone with some particular set of skills and then make a list of those people they tell you. If you still can’t find someone suitable ask those new people you’ve been introduced to if they know someone.
That way, if you only have ten people on your lists and each of them tells you about ten persons each, bingo you have one hundred people you can ask to be your co-founder. Gradually, you have a lot of choices of people to choose from.
You can also use social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to check for the type of co-founder you need and reach out to them.
Attend & Network at tech events
Another cool and popular way of finding co-founders is by attending events, meetups, and hackathons. Go out and actually meet people. You can look up these events where you think you’ll find a lot of relevant people that can have what you need.
This tech event includes the famous Google developer events, Open source communities like OSCA Fest, the tech seminars going on around you or you can look up Meetup.com. They have a website where you can find meetups all over the world and you can find the one close or relevant to you.
The essence of having a meetup or tech event is to learn together and network, but most time, people go to these events to snap pictures and have fun, and maybe you have been one of those people too. Well, the next tech event you will be attending should be to find a potential co-founder for your startup.
I know it’s not easy to network with a stranger especially if you are an introvert like me, but then, if you can’t talk or strike up a conversation with a person, how are you going to tell people about what you are building or build and why they need to use it?
So you have to start practicing now, imagine yourself pitching your startup idea to an investor, swallow the shyness and get that right co-founder!
Use co-founder matching platforms
There are quite a number of matchmaking platforms for startups out there. These platforms have nobody than those with ideas but looking for a co-founder, or someone without an idea but would like to become a co-founder to someone with a startup idea.
Some co-founder matching platforms to consider
- YC Cofounder Matching
- Techstars Startup Weekend
These platforms can be really helpful because they are majorly for finding co-founders so if you are looking for that perfect co-founder, then you should definitely check them out.
Forums may not actually be created for finding co-founders, but you can make use of ones that have a lot of traffic. For example, Reddit, Quora, and Discord have groups dedicated to finding co-founders and they are loaded with people which means you definitely should check them out.
Also, these forums are international and you tend to meet people from different geographical locations so if you are interested in finding a co-founder with a different background to probably expand your horizon or your business then you should definitely use these forums.
Universities (or colleges)
Maybe you’ve probably read online that Bill Gates met his co-founder, Paul Allen in the late 1960s at Seattle’s Lakeside School when he was in eighth grade, Mark Zuckerberg met Eduardo Saverin at Harvard university and they both launched Facebook in 2004.
If we come to Nigeria, Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi who founded Paystack met in school. The three founders of Jobberman.com, the largest job listing website in Africa met each other at Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU
Another very helpful way of finding a co-founder is going to a college or university. This is actually very helpful in finding the perfect set of skills you need. For example, you need someone with business and marketing skills; go to a business school, attend their entrepreneur events and get to know people with the exact skill you need.
A piece of advice on finding the right co-founder
Watch before you leap, and not “surface watching”
In finding a co-founder it is important to note that you probably shouldn’t walk up to someone and say let’s start a company together. It is more advisable that if your potential co-founder isn’t someone you’re not sure you can work with, start by building probably a simple project together.
This way you get to see how devoted they are to work if you’re okay working with them and other basic stuff. It is also important not to rule out someone as a potential co-founder if they are only lacking simple learnable skills.
If you get someone who is ready to learn and open to improvement but lacks maybe that skill that can be learned easily, it is better to consider that person than someone who has all the skills but is not open to improvement or corrections.
Avoid future problems, agree on equity spilt immediately
Another important thing to do is the agree beforehand on the equity split. You both should agree on how the profit is going to be shared. Most times it’s 50:50 but you and your co-founder may have other plans.
Although sometimes you may have been working on the business idea before your co-founder comes on board but it’s still okay to make it 50:50 or something very close to that. But then, you guys must agree on it, either it should be 50/50 or 60/40 but a co-founder must have over 10% equity.
Agree on the titles
You should agree on who’s going to be the CEO of the company. The CEO title should be given to the person who would most likely be talking to customers and investors.
If you would like to be the CEO, then you absolutely shouldn’t co-found with someone who also wants to be the boss to definitely avoid future conflicts… Two captains can’t sail a ship unless you want to subscribe for an accident.
You might also be thinking, “if I have a nice business idea, should I wait till I find a co-founder or should I just really go for it?” The answer is yes. If you have the idea and you’re really confident about it then go ahead. You should start building and also be on the lookout for a co-founder while in the process.
Sometimes you might not even get anyone to be a co-founder if they don’t believe in your idea but the fact that you’re already building and they can actually see your plan in action is a good way of attracting the perfect co-founder.
Conclusion: Finding the right co-founder
Once you find the right person and you have both agreed on the important things that have been mentioned above, It is also important to legalize things. You definitely won’t do that at the start of your company but when things start becoming big, then you should definitely have a legal agreement.
With the helpful suggestions above, you have everything you need to know about finding the right co-founder, and good luck in building the next unicorn, we can’t wait to see what solution you’re bridging to the world.
OAU Alumni: 10 Successful Startup Founders Who Graduated from OAU
Nigerian startup founders are repping the country globally. Let’s talk about 10 OAU Alumni repping the citadel of knowledge among these brilliant problem solvers.
We have tens of startups founded by Nigerians and most of them are pretty doing well. But lately, attention has been drawn to how OAU and Covenant University produced the highest number of “millionaire” West African startup founders in the last ten years according to a report by Techpoint Africa.
According to the report, OAU peaked at the top spot producing 12 Startup founders followed by Covenant university which produced 6 founders.
But this blog post is not about the report by Techpoint Africa, because that report is based on startups that have raised $1m. This blog post is about successful startup founders who graduated from OAU whether the startup raised up to $1m or not.
About Obafemi Awolowo University
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is one of the biggest, oldest, and most respected universities in Africa. Founded in 1962, the school is recognized globally, currently ranked #44 in Best Global Universities in Africa, and #1187 in the Best Global Universities.
If you see OAU students past or present shouting “Great Ife”, just know that they are not exaggerating, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife is indeed a great citadel of knowledge.
Do you want to talk about the beautiful campus, the reputation, or how the school has produced a lot of well-to-do people in the country in almost every sector?
Maybe that’s one of the reasons thousands of students want to gain admission to the school every year even when they know they have higher chances in other schools, but they’ll still choose to compete for OAU admission.
We have a lot of successful people who have attended or graduated from this school, you can see some of them in the entertainment industry such as Fireboy, ASAKE, and Blaqbonez among others. Femi Otedola, one of the wealthiest African men, is also a product of Obafemi Awolowo University.
If you’re talking about big men in politics: Dele Momodu, Olusegun Mimiko, Lai Mohammed, Olusegun Oni, Dapo Abiodun, and Rotimi Akeredolu are proud alumni of OAU.
But let’s talk about people in tech, we have tons of successful OAU alumni who are today working in the area of technology in the country or abroad.
But today, I will be showing you 10 successful startup founders who graduated from or have attended Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU.
Kindly note that this order of arrangement is random and not to be made exclusive as to how important or successful they are. Also, some of them graduated while others choose to drop out, but the fact that they attended OAU is worth mentioning.
PSS: Some of them are co-founders, that is they join hands with someone or some people to build the startup.
With that in mind, here are the (known) startup founders who graduated from OAU.
10 Nigerian Startup Founders who Graduated from OAU
Tosin Eniolorunda (TeamApt)
Tosin Eniolorunda studied Mechanical Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University. He founded TeamApt in 2015 to “digitalize Africa’s economy”. So far, the startup, TeamApt is used by over 400,000 businesses and has processed over $100bn in transactions via its products; Moniepoint and Monnify.
Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria with over 480 employees, the startup has raised over $50M, which is a great milestone in the history of startups in Africa, and for someone to come up with an idea that investors and customers can buy into, that means the person is a genius at what he/she does.
Yinka Adewale (Nomba)
Nomba which is formerly known as Kudi is one of the most successful startups in Nigeria that deals with financial technologies. Co-founded by Yinka Adewale who studied Mechanical Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University, the startup has over 170 employees and has raised $5M to increase its business reach.
Fikayo Ogundipe (PropertyPro):
If you go to Google right now to search for property in Nigeria, PropertyPro will be one of the first 10 results, thanks to how fast the real estate marketplace has grown over the years.
The startup led by Fikayo Ogundipe who studied Electrical Electronic engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University has raised over $1.4m to help people in Nigeria and other African countries find a better place to live from their smartphones.
Opeyemi Awoyemi (Jobberman & Whogohost):
Opeawo, as he is famously known, is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Nigeria’s top job marketplace, Jobberman (which has been acquired), and also a cloud hosting startup, Whogohost which is currently the best web hosting company in Nigeria.
Opeyemi Awoyemi, a software engineer studied computer science and engineering at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University.
Sultan Akintunde (TalentQL & AltschoolAfrica):
One of the most famous tech celebrities in Nigeria, Sultan Akintunde is popularly known as HackSultan and he is known for his charity to people who are in tech, want to get into tech, and people who are not even in tech.
He cofounded TalentQL, a talent marketplace, and AltSchoolAfrica, an ed-tech startup that recently raised $1m to support its mission.
HackSultan is also the founder of DevCareer, an NGO startup that helps people in tech.
Sultan Akintunde studied Geography at OAU but later went to Oduduwa University, a school very close to OAU to study computer science.
Funke Opeke (MainOne):
The oldest and the only OAU alumnae on the list, Funke Opeke studied Electrical engineering at OAU, she founded MainOne, a provider of innovative telecom services and network solutions for west African businesses.
The startup which has been acquired by Equinix for $320M according to TechCrunch was founded in 2010 by Opeke as a result of bad internet connectivity in Nigeria and she came up with an idea that turns out to be West Africa’s first privately owned, open access undersea high-capacity cable.
Femi Akinde (SlimTrader):
SlimTrader is a technology enabler for African Businesses. Its hosted technology platform supports businesses in the travel and hospitality sector. The startup co-founded by Femi Akinde who studied Electrical Electronic Engineering received $1M from Nigeria’s fintech king, Interswitch.
Razaq Ahmed (CowryWise):
Cowrywise, a big competitor to Piggyvest was founded by Razaq Ahmed who studied Economics at OAU. The startup helps you save and invest your money wisely instead of leaving it for inflation in the bank.
Cowrywise raised over $3M to make this vision becomes a clear reality and the growth ever since then has been nothing but amazing.
Kelvin Umechukwu (Bumpa):
Bumpa is just an all-in-solution for small business owners. The startup allows you to create an online store, manage your inventory and receive payment right on your phone.
Recently, the startup achieve a milestone by partnering with Meta (owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) to make selling faster!
Bumpa is founded by Kelvin Umechukwu who studied mechanical engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University.
Seun Osewa (Nairaland):
Okay. Hands up for the godfather of techies. Seun Osewa is one of the most influential people in Nigeria, his platform Nairaland is one of the top 10 most visited websites in Nigeria with over 1.9m registered members and over 7m topics created.
It will be difficult to see a Nigerian tech savvy who doesn’t know a platform called Nairaland, it’s just like StackOverflow for developers.
Finally words… 10 OAU Alumni among Nigerian startup founders
All these startups listed above are worth over a million dollars and you will agree with me that the brain behind them should be acknowledged right? One thing to notice here is that it is not compulsory you study computer science before you can be innovative or co-build a startup, you can study anything and still be a tech founder.
A LESSON: If you are currently a student either in OAU or any school, don’t just live your school life for the “degree”, try to learn a skill, network with your friends, and build something together, even if you’ll have to take it as a side project, don’t just be after the degree only.
If you know any startup founded by OAU alumni or students, kindly use the comment box below to share with us.
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