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Women-focused ventures benefit from Google’s Black founders fund

Twenty-five African startups were on Wednesday unveiled to receive this year’s $4m Google for Startups’ Black Founders Fund. Ten Nigerian startups were among the 25 selected in Africa.

The selected cohort of 40 startups from Europe and Africa include 25 African startups that embody the diverse entrepreneurial spirit across the African continent. Interestingly, startups led or co-founded by women make up 72 per cent of the group, which highlights the role women play in shaping Africa’s startup ecosystem.

Each of the selected startup will receive up to $150,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credits, Ad support, 1:1 mentoring by industry experts and invaluable connections within Google’s network.

The Black Founders Fund, now in its third year, aims to help tackle systemic racial inequality in Venture Capital (VC) funding by providing equity-free grants and mentoring to early stage Black-led high-growth businesses across Europe and Africa.

The funding will provide the businesses with the capital needed to take their ventures to the next level and expand to new markets, supercharging economic opportunities and job creation.

Head of Startups Ecosystem, Africa at Google, Folarin Aiyegbusi, affirmed that Startups play a major role in advancing Africa’s digital transformation; emphasizing that early-stage investment is essential for the success of startups and the African startup ecosystem as a whole.

“This is crucial for Africa to become a global tech leader. With the significant decrease in African tech investment in 2023, startups in Africa need funds to sustain their growth and develop innovative solutions for the continent.

“From accessible healthcare to efficient logistics, to innovative fintech solutions, these startups are harnessing the power of technology to address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges.

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“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.

“The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund is committed to addressing the stark inequality in VC funding by providing Black founders with the resources and support they need to succeed,” Aiyegbusi said.

Since its inception, the Black Founders Fund has facilitated over $205m in investor conversations, representing a 12-fold increase. This has sparked significant growth within the participating startups, with their combined monthly recurring revenue now exceeding $6.1million, marking a 7percent increase.

List of African startups selected are

  • Akoma Health (Nigeria): Tech platform for accessible, culturally conscious mental health services in Africa.
  • BezoMoney (Ghana): Digital banking for Africa’s underbanked via mobile/web platforms.
  • Chargel (Senegal): Digital trucking platform connecting shippers/carriers in Francophone West Africa.
  • Charis UAS (Rwanda): Provides 3D geospatial data via drone technology.
  • Evolve Credit (Nigeria): SaaS for digitising and managing banking services.
  • Excel At Uni (South Africa): Supports student funders via digital services.
  • EzyAgric (Uganda): AI-powered mobile technology to enhance Africa’s farming sector.
  • Fez Delivery (Nigeria): Last-mile logistics platform for various industries.
  • Fleetsimplify (Kenya): Monetization platform connecting gig drivers & vehicle owners.
  • HealthDart (South Africa): Digital HMO providing end-to-end health services with insurance.
  • Herconomy (Nigeria): Female-focused fintech aiming to be Africa’s first women’s bank.
  • Jumba (Kenya): Improving Kenya’s construction sector supply chain via B2B platform.
  • MDaaS Global (Nigeria): Tech-powered diagnostic centres for affordable healthcare.
  • My Pocket Counsel (Nigeria): Legal tech platform for contract generation and management.
  • Orda (Nigeria): Pan-African neobank for restaurants, offering cloud-based software.
  • Periculum (Nigeria): Data company aiding in credit assessment, fraud/churn risk.
  • Raenest (Nigeria): Fintech offering global financial services to freelancers/startups in Africa.
  • Ridelink (Uganda): E-logistics platform providing shipping and real-time tracking.
  • Susu (Côte d’Ivoire): Health platform providing healthcare services/insurance funded by African diaspora.
  • Talamus Health (Ghana): Tech solutions targeting healthcare inefficiencies in Africa.
  • TruQ (Nigeria): Streamlining mid-mile logistics across Africa with third-party vehicle connectivity.
  • Tushop (Kenya): Tech platform for group buying of daily essentials in Kenya.
  • Uzapoint (Kenya): Mobile/web POS for digitising bookkeeping in Africa’s informal sector.
  •  Zinacare (South Africa): Online platform for accessible, affordable healthcare services.
  •  Zydii (Kenya): Localised digital training solutions for African SMEs.
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Christiana Alabi-Akande
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