African tech has been in a sweet spot over the last few years, from African-owned unicorns spring up to amazing tech platforms raising investments to age-old problems faced by most third-world African countries using the power of tech to shape a new future.
Google has just announced its plans to invest up to $50 million in African early and growth-stage startups via its Africa Investment Fund, in an effort to ramp up its support of more businesses on the continent. Google made known its plans today in a virtual event where CEO Sundar Pichai announced the tech giant’s intentions to commit $1 billion over the next five years in tech-led initiatives in Africa.
According to TechCrunch, Google has been interested in growing startups in Africa through its Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program and the recently launched Black Founders Fund. In three years, the accelerator program has supported more than 80 startups in seed to Series A stages, providing equity-free mentorship and resources. Google for Startups Accelerator Africa has accepted startups like Twiga, Paystack, and Piggyvest and collectively, these 80+ startups have raised over $100 million in venture capital.
The managing director said the Africa Investment Fund doesn’t have any preference for sectors or countries. He adds that the fund might work in a similar fashion as the Google for Startups Accelerator program. The accelerator will be accepting applications from startups in less-funded and overlooked regions. These countries include Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
We are in advanced stages of various discussions, nothing that I can talk about more specifically at this point. But I’m hopeful we can come back with more information soon.Gajria said when asked when Google will make the first set of investments.
For startups who get investments from the Africa Investment fund, Google says they will have access to its employees, network, and technologies.