LIST | Senegalese Fintech, Wave, is the Only African Company Among Y Combinator’s ‘Top 50 Highest-Earning Startups of 2024’

"Revenue is the clearest indicator of a startup’s success, and we’re excited to see so many different types of companies represented." - CEO, YCombinator

For the second consecutive year, Senegalese fintech, Wave, was the only African company featured in Y Combinator’s top 50 highest-earning startups of 2024.

The list includes the likes of:

  • AirBnB
  • Reddit
  • Stripe
  • Coinbase
  • InstaCart
  • Scribd
  • Zapier
  • Optimizely
  • RazorPay
  • Scale AI

among others.


According to Garry Tan, the CEO of Y Combinator:

“Revenue is the clearest indicator of a startup’s success, and we’re excited to see so many different types of companies represented.”


The featured companies all generated above a certain threshold of revenue in 2023, Tan added.


Stats About the 2024 Top Companies List

  • The total revenue generated by these companies in 2023 is $57.2B
  • The companies on this list are collectively valued at $458B
  • Sectors represented:
    • B2B software and services (52%)
    • Consumer (23%)
    • Financial technology and services (19%)
    • Healthcare (2%)
    • Bio and industrials (2%)
    • Real estate and construction (2%)
  • 13 companies (27%) on the list have had an exit, 11 are publicly traded
  • Together, these companies employ over 80K people
  • Over 50% are headquartered in the Bay Area
  • The vast majority of these companies (over 90%) were founded by 2 or more co-founders
  • Reddit (YC S05) is the oldest company on the list
  • Zepto (YC W21) is the youngest company on the list
  • The S12 batch is the best represented, with 5 companies on the list:

* Benchling

* Coinbase

* Instacart

* SmartAsset

* Zapier

  • The companies that are new to the Top Revenue list this year:
    • Clipboard Health – Connects healthcare facilities with nurses nearby
    • HoneyLove – Innovative shapewear
    • Meesho – Democratizing internet commerce in India
    • Odeko – Operations software for running and growing your cafe
    • RazorPay – India’s full-stack financial solution for businesses
    • Zepto – 10-minute grocery delivery in India


Wave, founded by Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk, previously of Sendwave, launched its mobile money product in Senegal in 2018 as a challenger to telcos like Orange and Free Senegal which control 77% of the telco market combined.

During that period, telecommunications companies were imposing transaction fees ranging from 5% to 10%. However, with Wave’s entry into the market, these rates plummeted by up to 70%, accompanied by the introduction of complimentary deposit and withdrawal services through its mobile application.

Wave also brought a flat transaction fee of 1% for peer-to-peer money transfers which was a new standard in the industry. Subsequently, its competitors responded by slashing their prices by up to 80%, and some even restricted their customers from buying airtime through Wave’s mobile app in an attempt to rival Wave’s market dominance.

By 2023, Wave had a user base of 6 million individuals, representing approximately 75% of the adult population in Senegal alone. Its reach extended further across:

  • Senegal
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Burkina Faso
  • Mali
  • Uganda, and
  • Gambia

accumulating a total of 10 million users.

Notably, in 2022, it processed 12 billion transactions within Senegal alone.

YCombinator boasts 92 African startups in its portfolio, with 3 having joined the latest batch (W24).

A total of 260 companies joined the batch from over 27,000 applications, at least 50%  building around AI in one form or another.




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