Vault Pay, a payments infrastructure company, has been selected for the Y Combinator Summer 2023 class, making it the third African startup selected for the cohort.

Vault Pay, a payments infrastructure company from DRC Congo, is the third African startup selected for the Y Combinator’s 2023 summer class. The payments company joins Nigeria’s food delivery startup ChowCentral and Rwanda’s Eden Care in this year’s cohort. Per a statement published on Y Combinator’s website, DRC-based Vault Pay is building core payments infrastructure for Central Africa. The startup was founded in 2023 by Ntambwa Basambombo and Christel Ilaka.

With its infrastructure, the startup offers instant payments, convenient banking services, and personalized solutions delivered through telcos’ networks. According to its founders, Vault Pay aims to “enable seamless integration and unprecedented opportunities by empowering telcos to directly distribute banking services.” Challenges with electricity and internet infrastructure have made financial inclusion a problem. According to the IMF, key inclusion metrics such as account ownership at a financial institution, ownership of debit or credit cards, or borrowing from a financial institution in the region are among the lowest in Africa.

Y Combinator is scaling down on African startups

The selection of three African startups for this year’s Y Combinator’s summer class cohort signals a significant shift in the accelerator’s bet on the African tech ecosystem. In 2022, eight African startups got accepted into Y Combinator’s summer batch—six of which were fintechs, and the other two were food delivery startups. Last week, TechCabal reported that Y Combinator is bullish on food delivery in Africa. 

YC’s summer 2021 batch had 15 African startups, while the Winter 2021 batch had 24 startups from the continent. It is worth noting that the size of each YC cohort has also reduced since 2021, and this overall reduction suggests that the accelerator is focusing on narrower bets and is thinking deeply about the companies it backs. 

*This is a developing story 

Ganiu Oloruntade Reporter, TechCabal

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