Five Kenyan startups among 40 picked for Google’s Sh560m funding

Five Kenyan startups are among 40 from Europe and Africa selected to benefit from this year’s Google-backed $4 million (Sh560.6 million) Black Founders Fund.

The fund aims to help tackle systemic racial inequality in venture capital funding by providing equity-free grants to early-stage black-led high-growth businesses across the two continents.

The five – Fleetsimplify, Jumba, Tushop, Uzapoint and Zydii, which are part of an African group of 25 – are set to each receive up to $150,000 (Sh21 million) in non-dilutive cash awards, up to $200,000 (Sh28 million) in Google Cloud credits, Ad support, mentoring by industry experts and connection building within Google’s network.

Fleetsimplify is a monetisation platform that connects gig drivers to vehicle owners, Jumba seeks to streamline business-to-business (B2B) construction material purchases by offering a common marketplace for retailers and developers while Tushop is a tech platform for group buying of daily essentials.

Uzapoint, on the other hand, is a web-based point-of-sale (PoS) system for digitising bookkeeping in Africa’s informal sector whereas Zydii offers localised digital training solutions for African small and medium enterprises.

Now in its third year, the Black Founders Fund has since inception facilitated more than $205 million in investor conversations translating to a 12-fold increase.

“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,” said Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of startups ecosystem, Africa, at Google.

“The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund is committed to addressing the stark inequality in venture capital funding by providing black founders with the resources and support they need to succeed.”

The fund said of the group of 25 from Africa, 72 percent of the startups are either led or co-founded by women, underscoring the significance of the role that female entrepreneurs are playing in shaping the continent’s startup ecosystem.

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