The second round of the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund for Africa has been announced by the American tech giant Google.
The fund, which was launched last year as a $3 million (Ksh.350 million) fund aimed at 50 early-stage, black-founded startups on the continent, is part of Google’s racial equity commitments announced in 2020 amid increased discussions about racial injustice.
This year, Google says it has increased the funds to $4 million (Ksh.465 million), and the class will include 60 startups. Kenya is one of the fund’s 13 priority countries. Other countries set to benefit from Google Startup Funds for Africa include;
- South Africa
- Ivory Coast
- Senegal, and
Notably, Kenya was selected due to its active tech and startup ecosystem.
Non-dilutive grants ranging from Ksh5.8 million ($50,000) to Ksh11.6 million ($100,000) will be awarded to selected startups.
At the same time, Google will provide up to Ksh.23.2 million ($200,000) in Google Cloud credits, Google Ad Grants, and training and mentorship from the company’s veterans to each startup.
The eight Kenyan startups in last year’s selection were;
- Amitruck (logistics)
- Raise (fintech)
- MarketForce (retail-tech)
- Angaza Elimu (ed-tech)
- Finplus (fintech)
- AquaRech (agri-tech), and
- Pezesha (fintech)
Additionally, Kenya has recently positioned itself as a regional technology hub and a destination for multinational tech behemoths and global venture capital firms investing millions in local startups.
Google is the third company to establish a hub in Nairobi in the last three months, following global digital payments giant Visa and American tech powerhouse Microsoft.
In addition, the Kenyan startup ecosystem has recently been ranked second in Africa for total funding secured since 2019.
Kenyan startups accounted for 19% of the funding investors channeled to the continent in the last three years, with over Ksh.22 billion ($1.9 billion) raised from global investors.
Amitruck is a fast-growing Kenyan startup backed by A-list investors and partners, as well as prestigious clients ranging from Weetabix to Skygarden.
Transporting goods in Africa is prohibitively expensive, estimated to be five times that of more developed countries. Because many regions are landlocked and lack the infrastructure for rail or air transport, road transportation dominates. The transportation market suffers from a lack of systems; it is time-consuming and difficult to compare different transportation providers. This is exacerbated by the numerous middlemen, who are frequently expensive, leaving customers believing they paid too much and transporters believing they were paid too little. Customers’ goods are also vulnerable to theft or damage due to the informal and fragmented market.
Amitruck solves these challenges by;
- Connecting clients with transporters directly removing costly middlemen
- On the platform, drivers bid for deliveries, ensuring competitive pricing in a transparent manner
- The platform’s vehicles and drivers are vetted, and the goods are insured.
Raise is putting together an open financial system for Africa. The mission is to foster trust and investment opportunities in Africa’s most rapidly growing economies, markets, and startups. Raise is democratizing ownership for billions of Africans globally in order to create new investment opportunities and asset classes.