With below 0.5% of global venture capital reaching black founders and startups in Africa, the challenge of evening out the racial gaps in funding become even more glaring. This is against the statistic that this year already, over $3 billion in investment to startups has come into the continent. However, there exist very delicate gaps that prevent a bulk of African startups from accessing these opportunities for funding, from gender biases to racial prejudices. It is in the light of these, that Google is furthering its commitment to bridging the racial gap, through its fund that is focused primarily on black founders. Through its Black Founders Fund, Google is contributing to curbing the bias against black founders on the African continent.
The fund is focused on early-stage black-founded startups across Africa, through a non-dilutive $3 million fund that targets over 50 investable African startups. The startups also get to benefit from the Google Ad Grants program, cloud credits, and support from experienced experts at Google. Also, in the first virtual Google For Africa event, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, pledged over $1 billion in investments to Africa for the next five years. The funds are targeted at improving connectivity, as well as supporting African startups. They show Google’s commitment to transforming Africa through tech.
These investments will support the continent’s digital transformation in four key areas:
– Enabling affordable access in building products for every African user.
– Helping businesses with their digital transformation.
– Investing in entrepreneurs to spur next-generation technologies.
– Supporting non-profits working to improve lives across Africa.
However, of the selected black-led African startups, Nigeria leads the group with just over 50% of the selection (26 startups), followed by Kenya (9 startups), South Africa (6 startups), Ghana (3 startups), Rwanda (2 startups), and other African countries, Ethiopia, Senegal, Zambia, and Cameroon, sharing one a-piece.
- AC Group (Rwanda, 2015): AC Group is a logistics company that digitizes the informal public sector in Africa.
- Akiba (South Africa, 2017): Akiba Digital is a fintech that provides alternative credit scoring to lenders and also enables small businesses to access better financing from lenders.
- Amitruck (Kenya, 2018): Amitruck is a digital marketplace for affordable deliveries in Kenya.
- Angaza Elimu (Kenya, 2016): Angaza Elimu is an EdTech focused on delivering quality and relevant education on-demand using AI.
- Aquarech (Kenya): AquaRech is an AgTech leveraging mobile technology to improve fish farmers’ productivity, enable market access and create an inclusive aquaculture value chain.
- Babymigo (Nigeria, 2017) Aeloye Olarenwaju: Babymigo is a health tech platform that provides quality health information to pregnant mothers and nursing mothers with babies up to six years old.
- Bongalo (Rwanda, 2018) Nghombombong Minuifuoung: Bongalo is a digital marketplace for African travel accommodation.
- Bumpa (Nigeria, 2020): Bumpa helps small business owners sell, manage and track everything in their business from their mobile devices.
- Chekkit (Nigeria, 2018): Chekkit is a health tech startup providing product intelligence and battling medication counterfeiting for businesses in Africa.
- CredPal (Nigeria, 2018): CredPal is a fintech that provides consumer credit infrastructure to ease consumer credit purchases.
- Crop2Cash (Nigeria, 2018): Crop2Cash is an AgTech that makes access to credit easy for smallholder farmers.
- Curacel (Nigeria, 2017): Curacel is an AI-driven SaaS product that offers digital infrastructure to insurance providers to grow on the African continent.
- Emergency Response Africa (Nigeria, 2019): Emergency Response Africa is building the largest network of First Responders and verifie Emergency-Ready hospitals across Africa.
- Finplus (Kenya, 2017): Finplus helps SME retailers with access to instant working capital by providing transaction transparency.
- Formplus (Nigeria, 2014): Formplus helps businesses to collect and analyze data from their customers who are online and offline.
- Gerocare (Nigeria, 2017): Gerocare is a health tech startup that provides structure to underserved markets to enable medical care for the elderly.
- Gradely (Nigeria, 2019): Gradely is an edTech that supports schools and students in personalized learning resources to help students improve academically.
- Gricd (Nigeria): Gricd provides solar-powere refrigeration technology with real-time data loggers that track real-time location and storage conditions of perishable products.
- GrowForMe (Ghana): Grow For Me provides financing and market access to small-holder farmers.
- Hitch (Nigeria, 2017): Hitch enhances learning resources on-demand with relevant educational videos and AR/VR content.
- ImaliPay (Kenya): Imali Pay is a one-stop shop for financial services for the gig economy.
- Infiuss Health (Cameroon): Infiuss Health is a health tech platform that helps connect researchers to participants for clinical trials and research across Africa.
- Khula! (South Africa): Khula! connects farmers with access to agricultural inputs, technical services, markets and funding opportunities.
- Kudoti (South Africa): Kudoti empowers a network of recycling stakeholers to buy and sell recovered waste resources and creates opportunities in the informal waste sector.
- Lifestores Healthcare (Nigeria): Lifestores is building an integrated digital pharmacy platform to democratize access to primary healthcare in emerging markets.
- Lupiya (Zambia): Lupiya offers online personal and business loans to marginalized communities in Zambia with a focus on enabling access for women.
- MarketForce (Kenya): MarketForce enables informal merchants to source, order, and pay for inventory digitally and conveniently in Africa.
- mDoc (Nigeria): mDoc Healthcare is a digital health social enterprise that optimizes the end-to-end self-care experience for people living with regular and chronic health needs.
- Medsaf (Nigeria): Medsaf leverages various touch-points to ensure seamless and affordable access to quality medication.
- My-Medicines (Nigeria): My-Medicines provides clients with quick and reliable access to genuine and affordable medicines irrespective of their location.
- Oyi Medical Card (South Africa): Oyi prepares prepaid medical savings cards to help people budget and save for their medical and healthcare needs.
- Paps (Senegal): Paps helps companies and traders with scheduling and tracking deliveries in real-time.
- Pezesha (Kenya): Pezesha provides affordable working capital to underserved and excluded MSMEs across Africa.
- Pick Me Up (Nigeria): Pick Me Up provides a mobility platform that allows you to book a safe and affordable ride in minutes using your smartphone.
- Pineapple (South Africa): Pineapple provides insurance cover for all-risk items (electronics, clothing, musical instruments, etc.) and vehicles at the snap of a picture, using artificial intelligence.
- Raise (Kenya): Raise helps companies, investors and employees track equity and distribute digital securities in their portfolios.
- Reach (Nigeria): Reach uses transaction informatics to create personal finance and market research tools for people in Africa.
- Send (Nigeria): Send is a digital freight forwarder and customs broker for Africa.
- Shecluded (Nigeria): Shecluded is a digital financial growth resource and service startup for women.
- Shopa (Nigeria): Shopa helps informal African retailers restock in a convenient manner.
- Taskmoby (Ethiopia): Taskmoby connects users with service providers like cleners, plumbers, and electricians while ensuring high-quality service in the fastest time.
- Tendo (Ghana): Tendo leverages technology to connect independent resellers to suppliers.
- Tix Africa (Nigeria): Tix Africa provides event organizers, creators and small business owners with a self-service ticketing platform to create events and sell tickets.
- Touch and Pay (Nigeria): Touch and Pay is a smart cities startup driving automated transportation fare collection.
- TradeBuza (Nigeria): TradeBuza is building a data and API infrastructure for agriculture finance and last-mile operations.
- Treepz (Nigeria): Treepz is a bus ride-hailing platform that connects its users with predictable travel times, bus traveling options and safer travel across cities in Africa.
- Wayamoney (Ghana): Wayamoney provides cross-border and cross-network payment and money transfer solutions.
- Whispa Health (Nigeria): Whispa Health provides private, shame-free access to sexual and reproductive health information, products and services.
- Whoosh (South Africa): Whoosh provides various payment solutions to merchants and corporates looking to go online.
- Workpay (Kenya): This startup provides businesses with tools to enable them better and more efficiently manage their employees.