Google has announced its first investment from the Africa Investment Fund in SafeBoda, a transportation-led app, to help expand its growth in Nigeria and Uganda.
Nitin Gajria, managing director for Google in Africa, said in a statement on Thursday that Google was thrilled about this first investment from the $50 million Africa Investment Fund that it announced in October.
Mr Gajria said this was part of Google’s ongoing commitment to tech startups in Africa.
‘’I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and entrepreneurs. ’We look forward to announcing subsequent investments in other startups,” explained Mr Gajria. “The Africa Investment Fund is part of a broader plan to invest $1 billion over five years to support digital transformation in Africa.’’
According to him, through the fund, Google will invest $50M in startups and provide them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build impactful products for their communities.
According to him, Africa is home to 700,000 developers, and venture capital funding for startups had decreased in 2020 compared to 2019, with a record $4 billion in equity funding raised in 2021, according to Partech Ventures Africa.
Mr Gajria further noted that digital startups in Africa were driving innovation in fast-growing sectors, including fintech, health-tech, media and entertainment, e-commerce, e-mobility, and e-logistics, contributing to Africa’s growing Internet gross domestic product (iGDP).
He also mentioned that the first investment was in SafeBoda, a venture-backed company with investors that would help drive SafeBoda’s growth in Uganda and Nigeria, scaling its transportation-led app.
Ricky Rapa Thomson, a co-founder of SafeBoda, stated that SafeBoda was excited to have Google added to its community and ware excited to continue to drive innovation in informal transportation and payments in the motorcycle industry.
SafeBoda app was launched in 2017 to connect passengers to their community of safer and trusted drivers.
Since then, SafeBoda has grown to serve over one million customers, expanding its transportation-led super app offering rides, parcel delivery, food and shop, payments, savings and other financial services.