By Sunil Sharma - Managing Director of the Techstars Toronto Accelerator
I am thrilled to announce our fifth Techstars Toronto class with 12 companies from across the globe who are taking advantage of our virtual program in 2021. Our theme for this batch is accessing the global diaspora. In Toronto, how fitting.
After the strong performance of our previous classes, we have continued our support of entrepreneurs from all around the world, attracting and investing in the best startups and founders. Once again, Africa has caught our attention: we have the highest number of companies from Africa in this batch. We have also made investments in startups based in Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the US, which makes this the most international class of startups in Techstars history.
Toronto is the world’s most diverse city. We are now known to be North America’s fastest-growing tech hub. We are also home to North America’s most important and largest tech event, the Collision Conference which takes place each summer.
As a vertically agnostic program, our Fall 2021 class represents a wide range of sectors including fintech, e-commerce, digital health, remote work, logistics, proptech, hardware, talent and creator-tech. Each of this year’s 12 companies earned acceptance into Techstars Toronto by expressing a convincing vision of how the world will become better when their businesses succeed.
We aim to bring the best experience to all entrepreneurs joining our program and we are only able to do that with the help of our amazing pool of mentors, partners, and Techstars alumni who contribute towards the success of our program.
Without further delay, allow me to introduce our next wave of Techstars Toronto companies and invite you to our Demo Day on January 11th, 2022.
DevNation, Techstars first-ever investment in Pakistan, is an online learning platform that trains Pakistani youth with in-demand tech skills and connects them with employers for full-time opportunities. DevNation is the first startup in Pakistan to offer "Income Share Agreements" or ISAs to make tuition affordable for all and their employment rate is 88% within 60 days of completing the program with graduates earning 35% higher salaries than the market average.
Duhqa provides an e-commerce tech platform for retailers that connects them to manufacturers and suppliers, thus solving for logistics and delivery inefficiencies which means no more fragmented markets in Africa. Since launching only in January of 2021, Duhqa already has more than 2,000 active businesses as paying customers, has surpassed $1.5M in revenues and has a team of 22 staff with plans to expand across all of Sub Saharan Africa by 2025.
Fleri is a US-based conditional remittance platform that ensures that the money immigrants send back home goes directly into specific services for their loved ones starting with healthcare coverage. In Nov 2021, Fleri added coverage for two new African countries - Zimbabwe and Zambia to their pilot countries of Nigeria and Ghana. They already have more than 10,000 migrant Africans signed up to their waitlist and recently won a $100K grant from Rev1 and the state of Ohio. They recently launched a product to help travelers to Africa pre-book at home tests to meet the mandatory health testing requirements for leaving these countries.
Healthtracka is a digital health startup decentralizing lab diagnostics in Africa with at-home health testing. Users book their lab tests on healthtracka.com, have their sample collected at home and receive digital results in 48hrs. The company was launched in May of 2021 and already in three of the biggest cities in Nigeria. They have 2,000+ tests delivered at home and have acquired 1,500 paying customers with $30k in monthly revenue.
Kyshi provides a formal, simple and secure platform for Africans to transact across borders. The Kyshi marketplace runs a peer to peer system that lets you create or accept an offer at a convenient exchange rate set by people on the platform, not by banks. Kyshi is on a mission to unlock more countries while demystifying money transfers one currency at a time, connecting you to Africa. Kyshi has over 30,000 users and an average growth rate of 65% month over month!
Lenco is a B2B neobank for businesses and is on its way to becoming the “World’s Bank for Black-owned Businesses”. Lenco provides local and cross-border digital banking to businesses in Africa and soon to black-owned businesses globally. Lenco was launched just 9 months ago and is growing at a remarkable 35% month-on-month. Lenco has recently completed its Canadian HQ incorporation and will be acquiring a Money Service Business License to power its’ cross border business operations plans. Today, Lenco is live in Nigeria and will be launching imminently in 2 other African countries, before expanding to North America and beyond.
OurPass is a mobile app that enables consumers to shop with one click, thereby reducing abandoned carts and increasing sales for merchants. Focused on the fastest growing African e-commerce industry, the product was launched in September 2021 and has already completed more than 10k transactions, has 5000 users and over $1M in transaction volume, in just the first 3 months!
Marking Techstars first-ever investment in Rwanda, Payday is a pan-African fintech company helping Africans send & receive money across Africa and globally faster and with lower costs than any other money service. The company was launched in July 2021 and is already live in 10 countries. Payday has processed over $5M USD already (in just 4 months!) and has more than 10,000 active customers on its way to becoming the only payment app that Africans will ever need.
Pibox is collaboration software for content creators and teams, with a specialization in audio, video and music file collaboration. Pibox is a unique mix of chat, content collaboration, and digital management. Trusted by 100 creative companies including Universal, Sony, Epidemic Sound, Red Bull, The National Gallery of Art and many others, Pibox was founded by two brothers, Ivan and Pavlo Talaychuk and has recently raised seed funding from Globalive Capital, Adventures Lab, 70 Ventures and Presto Ventures with a goal to expand to more creative verticals.
RentSmallSmall is the first Proptech company from Africa to join Techstars, and is using technology to organize the massive Nigerian rental market. RentSmallSmall allows home seekers to find a property on the go, stay within budget, and pay rent monthly instead of annually in advance which is the unfortunate expectation of Nigerian landlords. RentSmallSmall has over $2.4M in revenue with 20,000+ tenants on the waiting list and a vibrant furniture leasing business and real estate investment platform for African diaspora to purchase apartments and homes in Africa and subsequently adding supply to the RentSmallSmall platform.
Vulcan Augmetics makes the world’s most affordable and modular plug-and-play prosthetics with a focus on developing countries where the demand for replacement arms is strong and growing. Vulcan’s unique arms can be maintained and upgraded remotely by software and have a unique app-store experience whereby attachments, grips and upgrades can be purchased separately without replacing the core-arm (for example for holding serving trays to allow for employment in restaurants or for doing exercises like pushups or a bike-riding grip). Vulcan has achieved $20K in sales in the past 30 days alone.
Unremot is an all-in-one business-in-a-box solution that provides a remote personal office that allows users to discover, request, schedule, pay and conduct meetings online, an ideal approach towards the future of work which they see as hybrid. Unremot has more than 45,000 monthly visitors and 15,000 monthly active users on the platform. With more than 7500 signed account holders, Unremot’s users have booked cumulative meeting duration in excess of 95,000 minutes per month, and growing!