The Africa Investment Fund, which was launched by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, at Google for Africa in October, has made its first investment. The undisclosed sum was invested in Ugandan bike-hailing startup, Safeboda.
Safeboda is a venture-backed company with investors that include GoVentures (GoJek), Allianz X, Unbound, Beenext and Justin Kan. Google said that the investment will help drive SafeBoda’s growth in Uganda and Nigeria, scaling its transportation-led app to offer new payment and financial services solutions for its expanding set of customers: passengers, drivers and merchants.
SafeBoda app was launched in 2017 to connect passengers to their community of safer and trusted drivers and since then SafeBoda has grown to serve over 1 million customers, expanding its transportation-led super app offering rides, parcel delivery, food and shop, payments, savings and other financial services.
Safeboda’s operations are based in Uganda and Ibadan, Nigeria. Last year, the bike-hailing startup reported that it had completed 100,000 rides in Nigeria. The accomplishment comes barely three months after the company began operations in Ibadan.
The Africa Investment Fund is part of a bigger strategy by Google to invest $1 billion over 5 years to support digital transformation in Africa. The tech giant will invest $50M in selected startups and provide them with access to Google’s staff, network, and technologies to help them build effective products for their communities.
Google has trained over 6 million people in 25 African countries to date, with over 60% of participants experiencing career and/or business growth as a result of their participation. Google has also invested over $16 million in over 50 nonprofits across Africa, allowing hundreds of millions of Africans to gain access to the internet for the first time.