Now in its third year, Google is giving African startups equity-free money to help them thrive and expand. Although fewer startups made the list, more women-led businesses did.

Google has listed 25 African startups as beneficiaries of its annual Black Founders Fund. Now in its third year, the $4 million fund seeks to help tackle systemic racial inequality in venture capital (VC) funding by providing equity-free grants and mentoring to early-stage, Black-led, and high-growth businesses across Africa and Europe. 

The diverse cohort of 40 startups includes 25 African startups, 72% of which are led or co-founded by women. This demonstrates Google’s commitment to ensuring gender equity with its support for African entrepreneurs. Last year, the initiative achieved gender parity with its fund distribution. 

Google notably drew back in the reach of its 2023 cohort, reducing the number of beneficiaries from 60 to 40. The number of African startups also noticed a first-time cut. Nigerian startups, for example, which took up 23 spots in the 2022 cohort, still dominate the pack but with only 10 startups represented. In Africa, Kenyan and South African startups are next represented with five and three startups respectively. Startups from Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Rwanda make up the rest of the 2023 list. 

Google’s equity-free money of between $50,000 and $100,000 is spread across various sectors including food, construction, and legal services, but the majority of beneficiaries are in fintech, logistics, and healthcare. The fund will empower the businesses to expand into new markets and drive job creation.

According to a statement seen by TechCabal, each selected startup will receive up to $150,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credits, Ad support, mentoring by industry experts and connections within Google’s network. 

Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startups Ecosystem, Africa at Google said, “Startups play a major role in advancing Africa’s digital transformation. 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.” 

Meet the Black Founders Fund 2023 cohort 

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

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