American multinational company, Google has been on a mission in offering support to thriving diverse, and inclusive startup communities around the world.
Recently, the company announced the selection of 60 eligible black-founded startups across Africa for its second cohort of Google for startups Black Founders Fund (BFF) for Africa.
The startups joining the program will receive a total of $4 million in equity-free funding and support to enable them to scale up their ongoing project.
They will also receive support in the form of a 6-month training program that includes access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges that are unique to them.
The selected startups will also be part of tailored workshops, support networks, and community-building sessions.
The 60 grantees will get non-dilutive funding between $50,000 and $100,000, and up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credit.
It is interesting to note that 50% of women-led businesses made up part of guarantees as they hail from countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda.
These women-led businesses specialize in sectors such as fintech, healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, agtech, education, hospitality, and smart cities.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Nigeria is among the top five countries with the most startups selected for the program with twenty-three grantees, followed by Eastern African country 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 opportunities 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 b black-led companies.”, says Folarin Aiyegbusi, 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.
60 Startups Selected for Google for Startup Black Founders Fund
|1.||Agrikool||South Africa||Agrikool is an agritech platform that connects farming producers and buyers to a fair and reliable market.|
|2.||Ajua||Kenya||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.|
|3.||Awabah||Nigeria||Awabah is a digital pensions platform for Africa’s workforce.|
|4.||BAG Innovation||Rwanda||BAG Innovation is a virtual and gamified platform that offers real-time access to experiential learning for university students and recent graduates.|
|5.||Bailport||Rwanda||Baliport is a cross-border, multi-currency payment platform focused on enabling intra-Africa & Africa-outbound money transfers through blockchain.|
|6.||Bee||Cameroon||Bee finances motorcycles for drivers while also providing training and access to jobs.|
|7.||Bookings Africa||Nigeria||Bookings Africa enables Africa’s gig workforce to digitise and monetize their skills by connecting clients efficiently and transparently to skilled talent across Africa.|
|8.||Brastorne||Botswana||Brastorne enables rural villages to have access to the digital world without smartphones or data.|
|9.||Built||Ghana||Built enables access to business and financial tools for Sub-Saharan African small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).|
|10.||BuuPass||Kenya||BuuPass is a travel startup – building digital rails for Africa’s intercity transport industry and supporting bus, train & flight transportation.|
|11.||Cauri Money||Senegal||Cauri Money is a cashless remittance platform helping African migrants move money from around the world into mobile wallets in Africa.|
|12.||Clafiya||Nigeria||Clafiya connects individuals, families, and businesses to health practitioners. Users can get access to convenient, quality, and affordable on-demand primary care from their mobile phones.|
|13.||ClinicPesa||Uganda||ClinicPesa provides an easy-to-use platform where low-income users can set aside funds as low as $0.30 daily dedicated towards healthcare and get access to healthcare loans.|
|14.||COVA||Cameroon||COVA is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses to easily and seamlessly deliver insurance products to their users.|
|15.||CreditAIs||South Africa||CreditAIs provides credit scoring tools for micro-businesses and individuals that do not fit the existing traditional credit scoring models.|
|16.||DohYangu||Kenya||DohYangu enables end consumers in Africa to shop FMCG products & get cashback rewards at various retail stores, saving up to 25%.|
|17.||Easy Matatu||Uganda||Easy Matatu provides a mobile platform that allows commuters to book and pay for scheduled rides on vetted and inspected minibuses.|
|18.||Eden Life||Nigeria||Eden Life provides an operating system for receiving and rendering essential services in Africa. It is focused on offering food, cleaning, laundry, and beauty services to their customers.|
|19.||Estate Intel||Nigeria||Estate Intel provides reliable data to businesses that are investing or operating in the African real estate space.|
|20.||Eversend||Uganda||Eversend is a neobank, providing critical financial products including cross-border financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.|
|21.||Exuus||Rwanda||Exuus empowers informal saving groups with a digital ledger, digital wallet, decentralised social credit score, and instant micro-loans to both groups and individuals.|
|22.||Flex Finance||Nigeria||Flex Finance helps businesses in Africa to manage approval workflow, access credit, issue corporate cards to employees and make disbursements all from one platform.|
|23.||FlexPay||Kenya||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.|
|24.||Gamr||Nigeria||Gamr is an eSports tournament aggregation platform, helping African gamers discover tournaments they can play in and get rewarded for.|
|25.||Garri Logistics||Ethiopia||Garri Logistics matches shippers looking to move cargo with vehicle owners and drivers, while finding optimal route pairings to reduce empty miles.|
|26.||Haul 247||Nigeria||Haul247 is a logistics platform that connects manufacturing companies and farmers with trucks and warehouses.|
|27.||Healthlane||Cameroon||Healthlane provides advanced comprehensive health screening, personalised plans, biometric monitoring and genetic analysis as well as in-person and virtual visits with top-rated doctors .|
|28.||Healthtracka||Nigeria||Healthtracka is a platform that allows users access on-demand healthcare services in the comfort of their homes.|
|29..||HerVest||Nigeria||HerVest offers a highly secured, women-focused financial platform that enables women to participate in key financial services, with a focus on female farmers.|
|30.||Kapsule||Rwanda||Kapsule is a data-as-a-service company that helps healthcare providers, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies to make better decisions.|
|31.||Keep IT Cool||Kenya||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.|
|32.||KUDIGO||Ghana||KUDIGO offers an omni-channel digital commerce platform to empower micro and small businesses in Africa.|
|33.||Kyshi||Nigeria||Kyshi provides multi-currency accounts and remittance services to and from Africa.|
|34.||Leja||Kenya||Leja is an Android/USSD application enabling African micro-entrepreneurs to digitise all their business transactions and manage all their finance in one place.|
|35.||LifeBank||Nigeria||LifeBank leverages technology to provide value in multiple segments (production, marketplace and distribution) of the healthcare supply chain such as blood, oxygen and medical supplies.|
|36.||Mapha||South Africa||Mapha provides delivery-as-a-service to businesses in peri-urban & township areas.|
|37.||Norebase||Nigeria||Norebase provides a single digital platform and technology tools for entrepreneurs and businesses to start, scale, and operate in any African country and the United States.|
|38.||OneHealth||Nigeria||OneHealth is an online pharmacy & healthcare platform that provides access to medicines, healthcare information, and solutions (Laboratory services & Doctors) to the last mile patient.|
|39.||PesaChoice||Rwanda||PesaChoice bridges the gap in liquidity for low-middle income earners across the continent and drives access to financial services.|
|40.||Pindo||Rwanda||Pindo is a cloud communication platform for businesses. It is optimised for developers.|
|41.||Pivo||Nigeria||Pivo is a credit-focused digital bank for trade, supporting businesses across Africa|
|42.||QShop||Nigeria||QShop is an easy-to-use DIY e-commerce platform designed to help small and medium-sized businesses scale and sell better online.|
|43.||Rekisa||South Africa||Rekisa helps businesses create their e-commerce websites and assists them with various digital marketing activities.|
|44.||Scrapays Inc||Nigeria||Scrapays is creating operating system infrastructure for the recycling value chain in developing nations.|
|45.||Shiip||Nigeria||Shiip leverages web, mobile and API technology to connect individuals & businesses to delivery services in and out of Africa.|
|46.||Solutech||Kenya||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.|
|47.||Spleet||Nigeria||Spleet leverages a ‘Rent Now, Pay Later’ model to drive its mission to ensure that every African can afford a space to live in.|
|48.||Stears||Nigeria||Stears is a financial intelligence company providing subscription-based content & data to global professionals. Its mission is to build the world’s most trusted provider of African data.|
|49.||Synnefa||Kenya||Synnefa is building Africa’s first mini-farm ERP connected to IoT sensors that provide soil data and farmer activity data to create a farmer experience score. This score passed on to financial partners to use on farmers’ credit score.|
|50.||Technovera||South Africa||Technovera is an tech startup developing simple technologies aimed at improving last mile access in Africa.|
|51.||TERAWORK||Nigeria||TERAWORK is an online freelance marketplace focused on matching freelancers to service buyers.|
|52.||TIBU Health||Kenya||TIBU Health is an omnichannel healthtech company connecting patients to healthcare services and professionals at a time and location of their choosing.|
|53.||Topset Education||Nigeria||Topset Education is an edtech platform that makes quality education accessible to Africans everywhere.|
|54.||TopUp Mama||Kenya||TopUp Mama enables restaurants in Africa to purchase food supplies, access financial services and manage their business.|
|55.||Wellahealth||Nigeria||Wellahealth provides technology and financial tools to healthcare providers and patients to enable affordability and accessibility of healthcare in emerging markets.|
|56.||Xente||Uganda||Xente is a digital financial platform with in-built spend management to support businesses across Africa.|
|57.||Zanifu||Kenya||Zanifu enable SMEs to purchase inventory and pay later.|
|58.||ZayRide||Ethiopia||ZayRide is a customer-centric on-demand taxi service offering fast and convenient service throughout local areas in Ethiopia.|
|59.||Zuberi||Ghana||Zuberi is a fintech platform based out of Accra, built to provide financial products and services to salaried workers in a way they have never experienced before.|
|60.||Zuri Health||Kenya||Zuri Health provides affordable and accessible healthcare services to patients across Sub-Saharan Africa via mobile app, website, Whatsapp chatbot and SMS service.|
Nigerian Autotech Startup, Fixit45, Secures $1.9 Million for East Africa Expansion
Nigerian autotech startup Fixit45 has successfully secured $1.9 million in equity and working capital to fuel its ambitious expansion plans into East Africa.
The funding round, spearheaded by Launch Africa Ventures, witnessed significant participation from notable investors, including Soumobroto Ganguly and Dave Delucia, alongside a diverse group of angel investors.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, Fixit45 underscored the significance of this capital infusion as a substantial stride towards broadening its footprint and influence within Africa’s thriving automotive aftermarket industry.
The company revealed that these funds have been earmarked to fuel its strategic expansion initiatives, with a particular emphasis on fortifying its automotive repair business.
Fixit45 also shared its unwavering commitment to enhancing its spare parts distribution capabilities through its online-to-offline platform, xparts.africa. With a keen eye on the East African market, Fixit45 has set its sights on Kenya and Uganda.
Co-founded by visionaries Chioma Ahueze-Okochukwu, Goodluck Ikporo, and Pankaj Bohhra, Fixit45 offers a unique platform that empowers car owners to seamlessly connect and engage with a vast network of aftermarket stakeholders.
This extensive network encompasses automobile service providers, specialized technical teams, spare parts suppliers, and end-consumers.
Pankaj Bohhra, one of the co-founders of Fixit45, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This funding represents a pivotal moment for Fixit45. We are profoundly grateful to our investors for their faith in our vision and our unwavering commitment to revolutionizing the African automotive aftermarket sector. With this capital infusion, we are well-positioned to advance towards our expansion objectives.”
Fixit45’s strategic move into East Africa holds the promise of ushering in transformative developments in the automotive industry across the region.
As the company intensifies its efforts, the future of automotive repair and spare parts distribution in East Africa appears poised for a remarkable evolution. Stay tuned for more exciting updates as Fixit45 continues to make waves in the autotech sector.
Payday’s $3 Million Seed Round: From Hope to Headaches
Six months after securing $3 million in a seed round led by Moniepoint, Nigerian fintech startup Payday finds itself embroiled in controversy and uncertain about its future.
Founder and CEO, Favour Ori, confirmed that the company is actively engaged in discussions with potential buyers.
In March, reports surfaced that Moniepoint was in talks to acquire Payday, with an expected deal closure within three months. However, the deal fell through, reportedly due to Moniepoint’s board’s lack of enthusiasm. Despite this setback, negotiations to sell the company continue.
Payday faced a wave of negative publicity in August after suspending access to customer accounts following fraudulent activities that resulted in customer losses. The company was accused of misappropriating customer funds before acknowledging the account restrictions.
Internal issues further marred the company’s reputation, especially after Payday implemented contentious salary reductions for some Nigerian staff in July and failed to issue promised stock options to affected employees.
This led to dissatisfaction and several employee departures.
Payday’s COO, Ogechi Obike, also departed, citing goal misalignment and clashes with Favour Ori.
Accusations arose that Favour marginalized Obike in crucial meetings and decision-making processes.
Favour Ori’s management style came under scrutiny, with allegations of impulsiveness and a lack of transparency.
Employees claimed that he hired top talent but stifled their input, resulting in customer disruptions, including difficulties creating virtual cards and accessing accounts.
Amid these controversies, Favour Ori has reduced his involvement in the company, focusing on external work with GitHub while the co-founder, Elijah Kingson, is employed at Revolut.
Payday’s future remains uncertain, with the potential sale of the company and the need to regain customer trust and employee satisfaction hanging in the balance.
The company faces the challenge of restoring its reputation and stability while navigating a tumultuous period in its young history.
Nigerian-American Nurse Turned Millionaire Entrepreneur: The Inspiring Journey of Courtney Adeleye
In the world of entrepreneurship, there are tales of rags to riches, and then there’s the remarkable journey of Courtney Adeleye, a Nigerian-American nurse who transformed herself into a millionaire entrepreneur. Her story is one of determination, innovation, and a relentless belief in herself.
From Nursing Scrubs to Business Suits
Rewind to 2013, and you’d find Courtney Adeleye in the role of a dedicated registered nurse, tirelessly caring for patients. But she had a different passion simmering beneath the surface. Courtney was on a quest to find the perfect product for treating natural hair, and her search proved to be a turning point in her life.
“I realized there were not many brands that used natural ingredients and specialized in healthy hair growth at the same time,” Adeleye recalls. Undeterred by the lack of suitable options in the market, she took matters into her own hands. Armed with a vision and just $500 to her name, she began mixing her own hair care products at home, infusing them with vitamins, nutrients, and healthy ingredients.
From YouTube to Entrepreneurship
Courtney’s journey took an unexpected turn when she decided to document her homemade hair care routine on YouTube. What started as a personal project soon attracted a devoted following of individuals eager to discover her secret for beautiful, natural hair. Not only did they seek knowledge, but they also wanted to purchase her products directly.
This grassroots movement led to the birth of “The Mane Choice,” Courtney Adeleye’s hair care solution for healthy locks. Her formulas were distinct, boasting ingredients that were free from mineral oil, petrolatum, parabens, sulfates, and formaldehyde, setting her brand apart in a crowded market.
The Mane Choice quickly gained momentum, and within the first three years of business, Adeleye sold a staggering $10 million worth of products from her own home. But she was far from finished. In just two more years, she had partnered with over 60,000 retailers across the United States, achieving the remarkable milestone of $100 million in sales and even launching an IPO in 2019.
However, Courtney Adeleye’s entrepreneurial spirit knew no bounds. In a testament to her commitment to health and wellness, she launched Olbali, a health-focused direct-selling company. Under this umbrella, she housed her private brands, including The Mane Choice, Cool Coffee Clique, Foolproof Body, and more, expanding her entrepreneurial empire even further.
Breaking Stereotypes and Inspiring Diversity
Courtney Adeleye’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges. Like many Black entrepreneurs, she faced the limiting perception that her products were exclusively for Black women, despite her extensive and diverse marketing efforts. This stereotype is a pervasive issue, as highlighted by research from McKinsey & Company.
Adeleye’s response to this challenge is simple yet profound: “My goal has always been to be diverse and inclusive.” She strives to be intentional about displaying diversity across her brands, aiming to realize her business’s full growth potential on a mass scale.
10 Secrets to Success
Courtney Adeleye has distilled her entrepreneurial wisdom into 10 key guidelines for those ready to take their businesses to new heights:
- Be authentic.
- Don’t meet your customer expectations…exceed them.
- If you don’t think you have a great product, try again before releasing it.
- Informal content can be more powerful than formal content.
- Be a walking billboard for your brand.
- Engage with your customers on all platforms.
- Show up consistently on social media.
- Bring your brand to life through grassroots events and activations.
- Invest more in your customers and micro-influencers versus macro-influencers.
- Fix the brand before you start spending money on marketing. Great branding can exceed great marketing.
Belief in Oneself
Throughout her remarkable journey, Courtney Adeleye holds one piece of advice above all others: “You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will.” Her unwavering self-belief has been the driving force behind her accomplishments, proving that with determination, innovation, and an unshakeable belief in one’s abilities, even the loftiest dreams can become reality.
As we celebrate the accomplishments of entrepreneurs during National Black Business Month, Courtney Adeleye’s story serves as an inspiring reminder that success knows no boundaries when passion, hard work, and self-belief lead the way.
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