Google Is Offering Equity-Free Funding To 50 African Startups. See Why…

Google awards 50 tech startups in Africa.

Google for Startups has awarded non-dilutive funding of $3 million to 50 tech startups in Africa. The American tech giant made this announcement early this month. These startups come from nine African nations with the largest African economy, Nigeria, producing half of them. If you are wondering what this funding is all about, we’ve got you covered.

Equity-free or non-dilutive funding refers to the money an organization gives to a business owner without requiring them to give up any ownership or equity of their business. This means business owners can still exercise full control of their businesses. So, the 50 African founders that Google is funding will retain full control of their startups.

Through its Black Founders Fund Africa program, Google for Startups is on a mission to support early-stage Black-founded startups in Africa. Google established this program in response to financial and societal challenges facing startups in Africa. While speaking about the Fund, Google’s managing director in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nitin 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.” 

Eligibility Criteria

Google for Startups invited startups in Africa to apply for free-equity funding. The tech giant set a criterion that startups must meet to qualify for funding. For example, a startup should either be headquartered or have a legal presence in Africa. Another requirement was that the African startup or its products should be compatible with Google products.

In addition, the startup should have a live product on the market and should also be providing direct support to the black community. Startups from 13 African countries were eligible to apply. These were Nigeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Startups awarded by Google

Out of the 50 selected startups, 25 are from Nigeria, namely Babymigo, Bumpa, Chekkit, CredPal, Crop2Cash, Curacel, Emergency Response Africa, Formplus, Gerocare, Gradely, Gricd, Hitch, Lifestores Healthcare, mDoc Healthcare, Medsaf, My-Medicine, Pick Me Up, Reach, SEND, Shecluded, Tix Africa, Touch and Pay, TradeBuza, Treepz, and Whispa Health.

The list has nine startups from Kenya, namely Amitruck, Angaza Elimu, AquaRech, Finplus, Imali Pay, MarketForce, Pezesha, Raise, and WorkPay. South Africa produced six, namely Akiba Digital, Khula!, Kudoti, Oyi, Pineapple, and Whoosh while four—Grow For Me, Shopa, Tendo, and WayaMoney—come from Ghana.

Rwanda produced two startups—AC Group and Bongalo. The other four startups—Infiuss Health, Lupiya, Paps, and Taskmoby—come from Cameroon, Zambia, Senegal, and Ethiopia respectively. Upon receiving the news, the CEO and co-founder of Finplus, Kageni Wilson, said,

“We are proud to have been selected for funding and support by Google’s Black Founders Fund. Finplus is building a new kind of credit and commerce infrastructure for emerging markets, which is incredibly ambitious work in largely uncharted territory. To succeed we must employ a creative mix of both old and new technologies in innovative ways.”

What each African Startup will Receive

The $3 million equity-free funding will be distributed across the 50 winners. Each African startup will get either $50,000 or $100,000. Allocation varies based on current needs, product development stage, and how much a startup has already raised.

On top of the cash award, each startup will get $200,000 in form of Google Cloud Credits and Ad Grants. These African startups will also receive scaling and technical assistance as well as mentorship from the American tech giant. Ongoing funding from Google and other investors will continue to accelerate the growth of the startup scene in Africa.

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