12 Kenyan Start-ups Selected for Ksh 465M Google Funding [LIST]

  • Google Headquarters in California.
    Google Headquarters in California.
  • 12 Kenyan start-ups will be smiling all the way to the bank after Google selected them among 60 entries into the Startups Black Founders Fund (BFF) for Africa.

    In a statement to newsrooms on Tuesday, September 6, the tech giant noted that the 60 grantees will receive non-dilutive awards of between Ksh6 million($50,000) and Ksh12 million($100,000) and up to Ksh24 million($200,000) in Google Cloud credit. 

    They are also set to get support in the form of a 6 month training programme that includes access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges that are unique to them. 

    The Kenyan start-ups listed include Ajua (end-to-end operating system for SMEs), BuuPass (a travel startup), DooYangu (enabling end consumers in Africa to shop), FlexPay (a merchant-embedded digital savings platform) and Keep It Cool (using technology to strengthen African aquaculture and poultry).

    A large sign outside Google's offices in San Francisco.
    A large sign outside Google's offices in San Francisco.

    Others are Leja (Android/USSD application), Solutech (fielding sales teams to sell more), Synnefa (Africa's first mini-farm), TIBU Health (an omnichannel healthtech company), TopUp Mama (enables restaurants in Africa to purchase food supplies), Zanifu (enabling SMEs to purchase inventory and pay later) and Zuri Health (provides affordable and accessible healthcare services).

    Startup Ecosystem Head Folarin Aiyegbusi noted that the fund is aimed at fixing the gap in venture capital experienced in Africa.

    "Africa is a diverse continent with massive opportunity 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 black-led companies," Aiyegbusi explained.

    Successful applicants are also eligible for an equity-free cash reward of between Ksh5 million and Ksh10 million to advance their ideas.

    Launched in May 2022, the fund targeted Kenya and 12 other countries including Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa among others.

    Launched in April 2012, the Google for Startups program has created over 4,600 jobs and raised more than $290 (Ksh34.8 billion) in funding.

    The top five countries with the most startups selected for the program are Nigeria with twenty-three grantees, Kenya with twelve grantees, Rwanda with six grantees, South Africa with five grantees and Uganda with four grantees.

    "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 Africa economy," read the statement in part.

    An undated photo of Nairobi City's skyline.
    An aerial view of Nairobi City's skyline dated October 2020.
    Eyeconic Media