In 2021, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced that Google would invest $1 billion into Africa across four main pillars over the next five years to support the continent’s digital transformation.
Among those pillars was a commitment to invest in entrepreneurs shaping the next wave of innovation across Africa.
The tech juggernaut has since launched its $50 million Africa Investment Fund whose portfolio now includes Ugandan transport app SafeBoda, South African mobile game publishing and monetization-as-a-service platform Carry1st, and Kenyan trucking logistics platform Lori Systems.
In addition to equity investments, however, Google also operates the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund: Africa grant funding initiative. Now in its third year, the program offers equity-free funding and mentoring to promising early-stage, Black-led startups across the continent.
This year, twenty-five startups were selected and they’ll each receive “up to $150,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, $200,000 in Google Cloud credits, Google Ads support, and one-on-one mentoring from Googlers and industry experts.”
Of the startups selected to participate in the 2023 cohort, 18 (72%) are led or co-founded by women, 10 (40%) are based in Nigeria (by far the leading country), and 6 (24%) are healthtechs (with fintech a close second).
Here are the recipients, ordered by country:
- BezoMoney — a digital banking platform focusing initially on personal & group savings.
- Talamus Health — a cloud-based software suite for patients and healthcare providers.
- Susu — a platform that helps Africans in the diaspora fund healthcare services for relatives on the continent.
- Fleetsimplify — a gig economy platform helping vehicle owners monetize & manage ride-hailing operations.
- Jumba — a B2B e-commerce marketplace connecting various players in the construction value chain.
- Tushop — an agent-driven, community group-buying platform.
- Uzapoint — a provider of bookkeeping, ERP, and mobile/web POS solutions for the informal sector.
- Zydii — an online learning & teaching platform.
- Akoma Health — an on-demand platform for therapy & mental health services.
- Evolve Credit — a provider of savings, lending, and core banking infrastructure.
- Fez Delivery — a last-mile delivery platform.
- Herconomy — a woman-focused savings and financial services platform.
- MDaaS Global — a provider of tech-enabled diagnostic centers & health services.
- My Pocket Counsel — a platform for generating, managing, and automating legal contracts.
- Orda — a restaurant management platform.
- Periculum — a data analytics platform that helps customers with predictive insights.
- Raenest — a payments & payroll management platform focused on contractors, freelancers, startups & remote workers.
- TruQ — an on-demand logistics platform connecting individuals and businesses with van & truck owners.
- Charis UAS — a drone services company offering aerial imagery and data solutions.
- Chargel — a B2B digital trucking platform connecting shippers and carriers.
- Excel@Uni — a student support & bursary management platform.
- HealthDart — a digital health platform offering digital healthcare consultations, an e-pharmacy, and health insurance policies.
- Zinacare — an online platform for home healthcare services & virtual consultations.
- EzyAgric — a smart farming platform offering a marketplace for farm inputs, market linkages, and loans & software solutions for farmers.
- Ridelink — a B2B digital trucking platform connecting shippers and carriers.
Folarin Aiyegbusi, Google’s Head of Startup Ecosystem Africa, said of the new cohort, “Startups play a major role in advancing Africa’s digital transformation. We look forward to working with this group of innovative founders who are using technology to solve some of the most pressing challenges in Africa.”
Watch the short selection video below.
???? Get ready to meet the rockstars of innovation! Introducing the Google Black Founders Fund 2023 Cohort. Don’t miss the heartwarming moments as founders learn of their selection ????????.
Check our blog to see who made the cut! ???????? ????????https://t.co/KzJuCalJx0 #FundBlackFounders pic.twitter.com/C8m4H2lEQA
— Google in Africa (@googleafrica) June 20, 2023