Ten Nigerian startups are making their entrepreneurial endeavours count against all odds and have been listed among the 25 African-based startups selected by Google for Startups (GfS) for this year’s $ 4 million Black Founders Fund.
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.
According to findings by BusinessDay, selected startups will receive up to $150,000 in cash awards, $200,000 in Google Cloud credits, and expert mentoring.
“This funding will help the startups’ fuel growth, expand into new markets, and boost economic opportunities and job creation,” Google said.
The selected Nigerian startups include Akoma Health (Nigeria): Tech platform for accessible, culturally conscious mental health services in Africa; Evolve Credit (Nigeria): SaaS for digitising and managing banking services; Fez Delivery (Nigeria): Last-mile logistics platform for various industries; Herconomy (Nigeria): Female-focused fintech aiming to be Africa’s first women’s bank and MDaaS Global (Nigeria): Tech-powered diagnostic centres for affordable healthcare.
Others are My Pocket Counsel (Nigeria): Legal tech platform for contract generation and management; Orda (Nigeria): a 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 and TruQ (Nigeria): Streamlining mid-mile logistics across Africa with third-party vehicle connectivity.
BusinessDay’s findings showed startups led or co-founded by women make up 72 percent of the 2023 shortlists, a development that highlights the role women play in shaping Africa’s startup ecosystem.
“The funding is expected to 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,” Google said.
Google explained that with the significant decrease in African tech investment in the first quarter of 2023, startups in Africa need funds to sustain their growth and develop innovative solutions for the continent.
Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of startups ecosystem, Africa at Google noted that startups play a major role in advancing Africa’s digital transformation.
He added that 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.
“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,” said Aiyegbusi.
Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti, founder of Herconomy and one of the selected beneficiaries for the 2023 fund said: “At Herconomy, we are on a mission to reimagine the financial landscape for women in Africa. Being chosen for the prestigious 2023 Black Founders Fund will fuel our revolutionary vision and accelerate our progress.”
“With the funding and support provided by the programme, we will expedite the development of our innovative solutions, enhance support for our valued customers, and expand our presence on an international scale,” he added.
Since its inception, the Black Founders Fund has facilitated over $205 million 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 $6.1 million, marking a seven per cent increase.
Other African startups on the list for the Google 2023 Black Founders Fund include BezoMoney (Ghana), Chargel (Senegal), Charis UAS (Rwanda), Excel At Uni (South Africa), EzyAgric (Uganda), Fleetsimplify (Kenya), HealthDart (South Africa), Jumba (Kenya), Ridelink (Uganda), Susu (Côte d’Ivoire), Talamus Health (Ghana), Tushop (Kenya), Uzapoint (Kenya), Zinacare (South Africa) and Zydii (Kenya).