Senegalese fintech startup, Wave, has gained recognition as the sole African company featured on Y Combinator’s list of the top 50 revenue-generating companies in 2022. This prestigious list includes well-known companies such as Monzo Bank, Coinbase, Zapier, Webflow, and Stripe.
The list features 50 companies that collectively employ over 70,000 individuals. Notably, only 22% of these companies have offices outside the United States. Demonstrating their impressive financial success, these companies have raised $40 billion in funding and generated over $50 billion in revenue throughout the year.
Since its founding in 2005, Y Combinator has helped entrepreneurs worldwide by giving startups seed funds, mentorship, and other resources. With a strong focus on Africa, this US-based accelerator has helped fund and grow many great African companies that are now well-known brands.
Wave, in particular, stands out as the only African company to secure a spot on Y Combinator’s global top 50 list by revenue. The company has invested in over 80 African startups, including Flutterwave, Paystack, Kobo360, and Cowrywise. Despite being a unicorn, Flutterwave did not make the list. While Y Combinator did not disclose the revenue figures for each startup, it did specify that all companies on the list met a certain revenue threshold.
Wave is a peer-to-peer money transfer service that leverages mobile money accounts instead of traditional bank accounts. According to its Founder, Durbin Drew, customers can make deposits and withdrawals at physical agent locations without incurring any fees.
Drew explains, “Customers can make deposits and withdrawals at physical agent locations without paying a fee, or they can use a smartphone app that takes a flat 1% cut of the money sent.”
In addition to facilitating money transfers, Wave allows customers to settle bills without incurring extra charges and offers instant airtime purchases. Unlike its competitors, Wave does not impose fees for bill payments. The company also provides users without smartphones a complimentary QR card, enabling transactions with agents who can set up accounts, accept deposits, and process withdrawals.
By securing its position as Africa’s most recent top company, Wave has become the first startup from Francophone Africa to achieve this esteemed status. The company reached a billion-dollar valuation milestone in 2021, following in the footsteps of Flutterwave and OPay.