SA start-ups scoop share of R73m Google fund

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 21 Jun 2023
The founders of the 25 African start-ups set to receive $4 million from the Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund.
The founders of the 25 African start-ups set to receive $4 million from the Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund.

Three South African tech start-ups − Zinacare, HealthDart and Excel At Uni − are among 25 African start-ups selected to receive a share of $4 million (R73 million), in the 2023 edition of the Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund.

Now in its third year, the fund aims to help tackle systemic racial inequality in venture capital (VC) funding by providing equity-free grants and mentorship to early stage, black-led, high-growth businesses across Europe and Africa.

According to Google, the selected cohort of 40 start-ups from Europe and Africa includes 25 African start-ups that embody the diverse entrepreneurial spirit across the African continent.

Start-ups led or co-founded by women make up 72% of the group, highlighting the role women play in shaping Africa's tech start-up ecosystem.

The funding will provide the businesses with the capital needed to take their ventures to the next level and expand to new markets, creating economic opportunities and job creation.

Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of Start-ups Ecosystem, Africa at Google, says: "Start-ups play a major role in advancing Africa’s digital transformation. We look forward to working with this group of innovative founders who are using technology to solve some of the most pressing challenges in Africa.

“The Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund is committed to addressing the stark inequality in VC funding by providing Black founders with the resources and support they need to succeed.”

According to Google, since its inception, the fund has facilitated over $205 million in investor-start-up relations.

From accessible healthcare and efficient logistics, to innovative fintech solutions, the selected African start-ups are harnessing the power of technology to address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges, it notes.

Cape Town-based Excel At Uni is an online platform that connects bursary funders/sponsors to university students, and Zinacare is an online platform for accessible, affordable healthcare services.

Johannesburg-based HealthDart is a “digital pharmacy” connecting patients to consultations with pharmacists and nurses, and also provides access to medication.

Njabulo Skhosana, founder of HealthDart, comments: “At HealthDart, we empower patients to access affordable and timely solutions for basic health problems through our technology-driven approach.

“By integrating pharmacy, telemedicine and insurance with seamless payment options, we ensure affordable access to comprehensive primary healthcare. With the support of Google for Start-ups, we are poised to further enhance our platform, enabling more individuals to find the most cost-effective and efficient healthcare options.”

The full list of the selected African start-ups is available here.