African start-ups secure $4m boost from Black Founders Fund

Founders of selected African start-ups celebrate their inclusion in Google for Startups’ Black Founders Fund, unlocking new opportunities for growth and innovation. Photo: Supplied
Founders of selected African start-ups celebrate their inclusion in Google for Startups’ Black Founders Fund, unlocking new opportunities for growth and innovation. Photo: Supplied

Google for Startups (GfS) has announced the 25 African-based start-ups selected to receive funding from this year’s $4 million Black Founders Fund. The initiative aims to address systemic racial inequality in venture capital funding by providing equity-free grants and mentoring to early-stage Black-led high-growth businesses in Europe and Africa.

Out of the cohort of 40 start-ups from Europe and Africa, 25 African start-ups have been chosen, showcasing the diverse entrepreneurial spirit across the continent. Notably, 72% of these start-ups are led or co-founded by women, highlighting the pivotal role women play in shaping Africa’s start-up ecosystem.

The funding provided by the Black Founders Fund will offer these businesses the necessary capital to propel their ventures to the next level, expand into new markets, and foster economic opportunities and job creation.

Early-stage investment is crucial for the success of start-ups and the overall African start-up ecosystem, which aims to become a global tech leader. Given the significant decline in African tech investment in 2023, these start-ups rely on funds to sustain their growth and develop innovative solutions tailored to the continent’s unique challenges.

The selected start-ups span various sectors, including healthcare, logistics, fintech, and more. They are leveraging technology to tackle Africa’s most pressing issues. HealthDart, for instance, is revolutionising healthcare by providing comprehensive services and insurance through its digital platform. Tushop is reimagining retail in Kenya with its group-buying platform, promoting cost-saving and community engagement. Herconomy aims to become Africa’s first women-focused bank, breaking new ground in the fintech sector.

Each chosen start-up will receive up to $150,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credits, advertising support, 1:1 mentoring by industry experts, and valuable connections within Google’s network.

Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startups Ecosystem, Africa at Google, expressed enthusiasm about working with this group of innovative founders who utilise technology to solve Africa’s most pressing challenges. Aiyegbusi stated that the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund is dedicated to addressing the glaring inequality in VC funding by providing Black founders with the resources and support they need to thrive.

The selected founders are equally thrilled about the opportunities ahead. Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti, Founder of Herconomy, emphasised that being chosen for the prestigious 2023 Black Founders Fund will fuel their revolutionary vision and accelerate their progress. With the funding and support provided by the program, Herconomy aims to expedite the development of innovative solutions, enhance customer support, and expand its presence internationally.

Cathy Chepkemboi, Founder of Tushop, expressed her passion for leveraging technology to empower Kenyan consumers and increase 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, stated that their platform empowers patients to access affordable and timely solutions for basic health problems through a technology-driven approach. With Google for Startups’ support, HealthDart aims to enhance its platform, enabling more individuals to find cost-effective and efficient healthcare options.

Since its establishment, the Black Founders Fund has facilitated over $205 million in investor conversations, resulting in a twelve-fold increase in funding discussions. This has driven significant growth among participating start-ups, with their combined monthly recurring revenue now exceeding $6.1 million, marking a 7% increase.

The list of start-ups selected for the 2023 Black Founders Fund includes:

  • Akoma Health (Nigeria)
  • BezoMoney (Ghana)
  • Chargel (Senegal)
  • Charis UAS (Rwanda)
  • Evolve Credit (Nigeria)
  • Excel At Uni (South Africa)
  • EzyAgric (Uganda)
  • Fez Delivery (Nigeria)
  • Fleetsimplify (Kenya)
  • HealthDart (South Africa)
  • Herconomy (Nigeria)
  • Jumba (Kenya)
  • MDaaS Global (Nigeria)
  • My Pocket Counsel (Nigeria)
  • Orda (Nigeria)
  • Periculum (Nigeria)
  • Raenest (Nigeria)
  • Ridelink (Uganda)
  • Susu (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Talamus Health (Ghana)
  • TruQ (Nigeria)
  • Tushop (Kenya)
  • Uzapoint (Kenya)
  • Zinacare (South Africa)
  • Zydii (Kenya)

These start-ups represent a diverse range of industries and will undoubtedly contribute to the growth and development of Africa’s start-up ecosystem with the support of Google for Startups’ Black Founders Fund.

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