Google for Startups (GfS) has announced the selection of 25 African-based startups for this year’s Black Founders Fund, an initiative aimed at addressing systemic racial inequality in venture capital funding.
Now in its third year, the Black Founders Fund provides equity-free grants and mentoring to early-stage, Black-led high-growth businesses across Europe and Africa.
The cohort of selected startups, which includes 40 startups from Europe and Africa, highlights the diverse entrepreneurial spirit thriving across the African continent.
Notably, 72% of the African startups are led or co-founded by women, underscoring the pivotal role women play in shaping Africa’s startup ecosystem. The $4 million in funding will empower these businesses to expand into new markets, fostering economic opportunities and job creation.
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Early-stage investment is crucial for the success of startups and the overall African startup ecosystem, especially as Africa aims to become a global tech leader.
Unfortunately, 2023 witnessed a significant decrease in African tech investment. Therefore, these funds are vital for startups in Africa to sustain their growth and develop innovative solutions that address pressing challenges on the continent.
The selected startups cover a wide range of sectors, harnessing the power of technology to tackle Africa’s most pressing issues. Among them, HealthDart is revolutionizing healthcare by providing comprehensive services and insurance through its digital platform. Tushop is transforming retail in Kenya with its group-buying platform that promotes cost-saving and community engagement. Herconomy is making strides in the fintech sector as Africa’s first women-focused bank.
Each of the chosen startups will receive non-dilutive cash awards of up to $150,000, along with up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credits, advertising support, personalized mentoring from industry experts, and valuable connections within Google’s network.
Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startups Ecosystem, Africa at Google, expressed enthusiasm about the potential of these innovative founders who employ technology to solve Africa’s most pressing challenges. Aiyegbusi emphasized Google for Startups’ commitment to addressing the stark inequality in VC funding by providing Black founders with the necessary resources and support to thrive.
One of the selected founders, Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti, Founder of Herconomy, shared her excitement about being chosen for the prestigious 2023 Black Founders Fund. She highlighted the impact the funding will have on fueling their revolutionary vision, accelerating their progress, and expanding their presence internationally.
Cathy Chepkemboi, Founder of Tushop, another selected startup, emphasized their passion for leveraging technology to empower Kenyan consumers and enhance their buying power.
With the support of Google for Startups, Chepkemboi believes they are one step closer to positively impacting the lives of millions of consumers in Kenya and beyond.
Njabulo Skhosana, Founder of HealthDart, shared his vision of empowering patients to access affordable and timely healthcare solutions through their technology-driven approach.
Skhosana expressed confidence that with Google for Startups’ support, they will further enhance their platform, allowing more individuals to access cost-effective and efficient healthcare options.
Since its inception, the Black Founders Fund has facilitated over $205 million in investor conversations, representing a remarkable 12-fold increase.
Participating startups have experienced significant growth, with their combined monthly recurring revenue exceeding $6.1 million, indicating a 7% increase.
The list of African startups selected for the 2023 Black Founders Fund includes:
- 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 digitizing 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 a B2B platform.
- MDaaS Global (Nigeria): Tech-powered diagnostic centers 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 the 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 digitizing bookkeeping in Africa’s informal sector.
- Zinacare (South Africa): An online platform for accessible, affordable healthcare services.
- Zydii (Kenya): Localized digital training solutions for African SMEs.