Emerging reports from the search and Android giant is this time in a continent’s startups sphere that seek to further enhance African early and growth-stage startups. However, this comes as Google seeks to invest up to $50 million in the continent of Africa via its Africa Investment Fund as part of its efforts to support more businesses in Africa.
This was made known today by Google in a virtual event where CEO ‘Sundar Pichai’ announced the search and Android giant’s intentions to commit $1 billion over the next five years in the axis of tech-led initiatives in Africa.
Although, the tech giant, in the meantime, is understood to have fulfilled its obligations in the area of improved connectivity via Google’s subsea cable Equiano to investments in small businesses and startups, notably, through the recently launched Black Founders Fund and Google for startups Accelerator Africa program.
As for the Black Founders Fund, though attached with awards, typically cut across three major regions, namely in the U.S., Africa, and Europe, which operates a $5 million fund, a $3 million fund, and a $2 million fund respectively. In the same vein, it was noted that the company’s accelerator program has backed more than 80 startups in seed up to Series A stages while providing equity-free mentorship and resources. More significantly, is the fact that the startups have successfully raised over $100 million in venture capital, and these include Paystake, Twiga, and Piggyvest which are just but a few among the 80+ startups.
Meanwhile, as for the latest development, it should be noted that 50 startups have been selected to take part in the Africa program that will begin on October 13. These startups are expected to receive up to $100,000 in equity-free capital including credits from Google Cloud, Google.org ads grants coupled with other support.
Funny enough, the company made clear that 40% of startups are women-led, which cut across nine countries and 12 sectors. In view of this, Google’s managing director of Sub-Saharan Africa ‘Nithin Gajria’ said
“There is a significant gap in terms of access to funding. Some groups do not have access to funding as much as other groups. We’ve seen that with black and female-founded startups. And our effort with the Black Founders Fund is to help close that gap to some extent”.
“Think of it as Google bringing venture capital into the continent” Gajria added.
At the moment, there is no preference for specific countries or areas, meaning, the accelerator is poised to accept applications from startups in less-funded and overlooked regions, and not just from the Big Four countries of Africa. Gajria also stressed that
“We are not restricting ourselves to certain verticals. We are focusing on investments where we believe that Google could add value. And “If there are founders building interesting products solving real challenges in Africa, that would fall squarely within our investment thesis”, It noted.
As for the time for the first set of investments, Gajria made clear that the company is already in the advanced stage of discussions.
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