Sixty Nigerian startups have benefited from the Google Black Founders Fund since its inception in 2021.

The total number of startups that benefited from the fund hit 150 in 2023. Since 2021, the firms have had access to $11m of equity-free funding.

In 2021, Google announced the launch of its $3m Black Founders Fund. The firm explained that its fund, now in its third year, was aimed at tackling systemic racial inequality in venture capital funding, by providing equity-free grants and mentoring to early-stage black-led businesses across Europe and Africa.

The Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa, Nitin Gajria, stated, “Google understands that the growth and success of one player in the startup space lays the path for others.

“This is what drives the commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and startups and effectively driving employment and enabling both economic and social development on the continent. We are determined to help black founders grow their businesses, not just through access to capital but also through access to the best of Google’s resources.”

In 2021, 27 Nigerian startups benefited. In 2022, the number was 23, and in 2023, the firm recently announced that 10 startups from Nigeria would benefit.

According to the firm, these 10 firms formed part of a larger cohort of 40 startups from Europe and Africa that were selected for its 2023 $4m Black Founders Fund. It noted that 25 of the 40 were African-based startups.

It highlighted that 72 per cent of the chosen startups were led or co-founded by women. In a statement, it said, “The funding will provide the businesses with the capital needed to take their ventures to the next level and expand to new markets, supercharging economic opportunities and job creation.

“Early-stage investment is essential for the success of startups and the African startup ecosystem as a whole. This is crucial for Africa to become a global tech leader. With the significant decrease in African tech investment in 2023, startups in Africa need funds to sustain their growth and develop innovative solutions for the continent.”

Google stated that each selected startup would receive up to $150,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credits, Ad support, 1:1 mentoring by industry experts, and invaluable connections within its network.

The Nigerian startups selected in 2023 included Akoma Health, Evolve Credit, Fez Delivery, Herconomy, MDaaS Global, My Pocket Counsel, Orda, Periculum, Raenest, and TruQ.

The Head of Startups Ecosystem, Africa at Google, Folarin Aiyegbusi, said “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. The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund is committed to addressing the stark inequality in VC funding by providing Black founders with the resources and support they need to succeed.”

One of the selected founders, Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti of Herconomy, added, “At Herconomy, we are on a mission to reimagine the financial landscape for women in Africa.

“Being chosen for the prestigious 2023 Black Founders Fund will fuel our revolutionary vision and accelerate our progress. With the funding and support provided by the programme, we will expedite the development of our innovative solutions, enhance support for our valued customers, and expand our presence on an international scale.”

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