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Young African Catalysts is making an exciting announcement as it gains acceptance into Techstars Toronto and undergoes a rebranding to become CatalyzU. This move places CatalyzU among 23 other startups from Canada and emerging markets in the same cohort.

The brains behind CatalyzU are former investors Karl Nchite, who serves as the CEO, and Luke Mostert, who takes on the role of Chief Strategy Officer. Their vision is to tackle the challenge of training and placing African talent in startups worldwide.

While other startups like Andela have focused on technical roles, CatalyzU sets its sights on non-technical positions, such as sales, marketing, business development, and customer service. Joining Techstars provides them with access to the accelerator’s portfolio companies and partners, which will aid them in achieving this goal.

The rebranding to CatalyzU is in line with the startup’s mission to educate and connect people with job opportunities. Mostert, who previously held the position of Head of Investments at Future Africa, will now be responsible for leading CatalyzU’s strategy, funding, partnerships, and marketing efforts.

Both Nchite and Mostert have strong networks across Africa, including the Young African Catalysts ecosystem, which comprises fellows from the leading 65 African VC Funds.

However, they seek to expand their reach to the US, where specialized edtech and jobtech funding opportunities lie. Techstars, being the world’s largest pre-seed investor, grants them access to these networks and offers support in obtaining growth capital and establishing beneficial connections, as stated by Mostert in an interview with Techpoint Africa.

As part of their acceptance into Techstars, CatalyzU secures $120,000, which forms the first tranche of their pre-seed round.

On top of this, the startup has attracted angel investments from notable figures such as Paul Breloff, Founder of Accion Venture Labs & Shortlist Professionals; Toyosi Abolarin, Founder of Nigerian Web3 gaming platform, Awujo; and Robert Cole, Head of Investments at Tencent Europe.

Looking ahead, CatalyzU plans to launch their second tranche of pre-seed funding efforts after completing the Techstars program in October 2023.

Since July, Nchite has been representing the startup in Toronto and is highly motivated to be part of Techstars due to its far-reaching influence on the African continent.

The experience with Techstars has been transformative for CatalyzU so far, with invaluable insights and support from industry leaders aiding their startup’s development. They are also forging promising relationships and partnerships.

Despite the slowdown in venture capital funding, Techstars stands out as one of the most active global investors and has made over 60 investments in African startups since 2021.

Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto, expressed his enthusiasm for CatalyzU’s mission, recognizing the platform they are building to empower entrepreneurs. Techstars is excited to support their African portfolio through CatalyzU’s initiative, recognizing the potential of young and talented African entrepreneurs to make a significant impact.

By Elijah Christopher 


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