12 Kenyan firms to benefit from Sh479 million Google funding

Kenya got the 2nd highest number of firms selected for the programme

Some of the founders of the 12 Kenya startups that part of the 60 African startups benefiting from the Sh4792 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund

Google has announced that 60 eligible black-founded startups across Africa have been selected for the second cohort of Google for Startups Black Founders Fund (BFF) for Africa.

The startups joining the program will receive a total of Sh479.2 million($4million) in funding and support to enable them to scale up their ongoing work.

Each of the selected startups will receive support in the form of a 6-month training programme that includes access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges that are unique to them.

They will also be part of tailored workshops, support networks and community-building sessions.

The 60 grantees will also get non-dilutive awards of between Sh6 million ($50,000) and Sh12 million($100,000) and up to Sh24 million ($200,000) in Google Cloud credit.

The grantees, made up of 50% women-led businesses, hail from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

They specialise in sectors such as fintech, healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, agtech, education, hospitality and smart cities.

The top five countries with the most startups selected for the program are Nigeria with twenty-three grantees, Kenya with twelve grantees, Rwanda with six grantees, South Africa with five grantees and Uganda with four grantees.

Botswana and Senegal have one selected startup each, Cameroon and Ghana both have three grantees each while Ethiopia has two selected grantees.

Africa is a diverse continent with massive opportunity but the continent is faced with the challenge of limited diversity in venture capital funding flow. We hope that the Black Founders Fund program will be able to bridge the gap of disproportionate funding between expat startups over local and black-led companies,” said Folarin Aiyegbusi the Head of Startup Ecosystem, SSA.

Launched in April 2012, the Google for Startups program has created over 4,600 jobs and raised more than $290M in funding.

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund program will introduce the grantees in Africa to Google's products, connections, and best practices which will help the founders to level the playing field as they build better products and services that add value to the African economy.

Funding for the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund will be distributed through Google’s implementation partner; Co-creation Hub.

The equity-free cash assistance to startups will enable them to take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory, and maintaining software licences. This is to help the grantees buffer the cost of taking on debt in the early stages of their business as many of them do not have steady revenue streams yet”, Aiyegbusi said.

Funding Black founders in Africa fuels generational and systemic change.

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund for Africa program reinforces Google’s commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and startups in the region as a vital prerequisite to driving employment and growth on the continent.

The Kenyan start ups that were selected include

  1. Ajua - Ajua is an end-to-end operating system for SMEs to build a credible online presence, get feedback on their businesses and manage the relationship with their customers.
  2. BuuPass - BuuPass is a travel startup - building digital rails for Africa’s intercity transport industry and supporting bus, train & flight transportation.
  3. DohYangu- DohYangu enables end consumers in Africa to shop FMCG products & get cashback rewards at various retail stores, saving up to 25%.
  4. Flexpay - FlexPay is a merchant-embedded digital savings platform that rewards customers for saving up for purchases - a save now buy later (SNBL) solution at checkout.
  5. Keep IT Cool - Keep IT Cool is an early-stage, fast-growing social enterprise that leverages technology to strengthen the African aquaculture and poultry value chain through cold chain and storage.
  6. Leja - Leja is an Android/USSD application enabling African micro-entrepreneurs to digitise all their business transactions and manage all their finance in one place.
  7. Solutech - Solutech helps field-sales teams to sell more efficiently by leveraging powerful insights while providing FMCG companies with real-time data for day-to-day and strategic decision-making.
  8. Synnefa - Synnefa is building Africa's first mini-farm ERP connected to IoT sensors that provide soil data which is combined with farmer activity data to create a farmer experience score that is passed on to financial partners to use on their credit score.
  9. Tibu Health - TIBU Health is an omnichannel health-tech company connecting patients to healthcare services and professionals at a time and location of their choosing.
  10. TopUp Mama - TopUp Mama enables restaurants in Africa to purchase food supplies, access financial services and manage their business.
  11. Zanifu - Zanifu enables SMEs to purchase inventory and pay later.
  12. Zuri Health - Zuri Health provides affordable and accessible healthcare services to patients across Sub-Saharan Africa via mobile app, website, WhatsApp chatbot and SMS service. 

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