Google has reportedly made its first investment in a Uganda based app SafeBoda from its African Investment Fund. The announcement follows Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai’s declaration of granting $1 billion to tech-led initiatives in the coming five years which includes $50 million African Investment Fund for growing startups in the continent.
As per reports, Google has also provided support to startups through its Google for Startups Acceleration initiative in the past. The program has backed up almost 80 startups in Series A funding with equity-free mentorship and resources. Along with this, a $3 million Black Founders Fund has also been launched by Google, which is being provided to 50 startups every year.
It has been speculated that fintech startups and startups from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa are targeted the most by venture capital.
As per sources, out of the total funding by VC in the last year, fintech startups accounted for 25% of funds while the Big Four startups received more than half of Africa’s funding. Fund Managers are therefore working together to bridge the funding gap by investing in sectors and regions which have been overlooked.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google in sub-Saharan Africa stated that Google is willing to invest in verticals where it can add value and can help curb challenges in Africa, SafeBoda being an example.
According to credible sources, SafeBoda startup worked as a two-wheel ride-hailing platform before reaching great heights two years ago. The app provides parcel delivery, rides, payments, food and certain financial services to almost 1 million customers in Uganda and Nigeria.
Reportedly, SafeBoda has almost 25,000 drivers and has completed 40 million orders in both the markets. The company has also raised approximately $20 million with investment from Beenext, Unbound, Allianz X from GoVentures.
Furthermore, Ricky Rapa Thomson, Co-Founder of SafeBoda stated that the startup is thrilled to have Google as its investor and plans to continue its informal transportation and payments in Africa.