Some beneficiaries of the Google Black Founders Fund share with TechCabal why they applied for the fund and how the funding will make a difference.
On Tuesday, Google announced that it had selected 25 African startups that would receive up to $150,000 in cash without any equity requirements in the startups and up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credits as recipients of the Google Black Founders Fund (BFF). Already in its third year, the $4 million fund aims to address the funding gap that black and female founders experience globally. The startups would also receive ad support, mentoring by industry experts, and connections within Google’s network. Here are some of the startups and what they plan to do with the BFF:
With 72% of the startups being led or co-founded by women, the fund makes good on its promise to support female-led startups. One such female-led startup is Nigeria’s Fez Delivery, a last-mile logistics company for individuals and businesses.
Seun Alley, its founder, told TechCabal that BFF would allow the startup to improve its product offering and its mission to deliver to Africa’s diaspora community. “Google’s community of industry experts and its tank load of resources will help give us the fuel to drive effective last mile operations in Nigeria. With what we can leverage from Google with features like Maps, we can even touch every nook and cranny easily with high-quality zoning operations,” she told TechCabal.
Another startup that would use the fund to improve its current operations is Herconomy, a Nigerian fintech that seeks to provide core banking solutions for women in Africa. “Herconomy will be able to secure a microfinance bank licence that will enable it to onboard more women, including underserved communities, and empower them with the financial services they need to succeed and thrive,” Ife Durosimi-Etti, the founder and CEO, told TechCabal.
Zydii is a Kenyan startup that provides African courses tailored for upskilling African employees via an online and offline platform. These courses are developed in partnership with local experts.
Joyce Mbaya, the founder of Zydii, told TechCabal that the opportunity to work with Google, connect with founders across Africa, and receive funds made her apply for the BFF. She added that the funding would help Zydii expand its services and its market presence in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
“The funding enables us to collaborate with more local experts and organisations, ensuring that our training courses are tailored to meet the specific needs and challenges of the African workforce. We can continue to develop high-quality courses that address the skills gap and equip individuals with the competencies required for success in their respective industries,” she said.
This year’s cohorts cut across eight African countries and industries like healthcare, construction, legal services, and fintech. For Victor Alade, the CEO and co-founder of Raenest, a fintech that allows startups and freelancers to receive global payments, the fund came at the right time as the company is looking to expand into another country.
“This fund presents a valuable opportunity for us to not only reduce costs associated with our current services through the utilisation of Google credits but also gain access to essential resources and mentorship. These resources and mentorship will be instrumental in enabling us to scale our operations effectively. Google’s support will also play a pivotal role in our growth journey, providing us with the necessary tools and guidance to navigate new markets with efficiency and success,” Alade said.
As expected for what amounts to a sizable pre-seed round, the Google BFF has a high cutoff mark. For Williams Fatayo, the founder of truQ, a logistics infrastructure provider, the third application did the trick. “We wanted it so bad, we wanted the resources, the community, and the validation that comes with it. [To see] “truQ is backed by Google” is huge.”
truQ runs an AI-powered infrastructure for third-party logistics, using technology to connect businesses and individuals to logistics companies and vehicles. Fatayo told TechCabal that the funds, access to Googlers, and community of founders would be a “major catalyst for [truQ’s] journey and vision.” “Getting up to $150,000 in non-equity funding is a huge boost for our $1 million seed round fundraise, and up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credits [will] help our infrastructure costs,” he added.