Internet giant Google announced on the 16th of December 2021 that it made the first investment from its Africa Investment Fund in Ugandan super app SafeBoda.
The undisclosed investment comes two months after Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced the tech giant’s intentions to commit $1 billion over the next five years in “tech-led initiatives”, which includes a $50 million Africa Investment Fund targeted at early- and growth-stage startups on the continent. He made this known at the Google for Africa event in October 2021.
Though Google’s investment in SafeBoda serves as an early reminder of Gajria’s statement, startups from the Big Four markets will likely fill the fund’s portfolio in the next couple of years.
The Ugandan startup launched as a two-wheel ride-hailing platform before embarking on a super app plan two years ago.
Now, it offers rides, parcel delivery, food and shop, payments, savings and other financial services to over 1 million customers in Uganda and its second market, Nigeria. The company counts more than 25,000 drivers who have completed over 40 million orders in both markets.
SafeBoda has rarely announced any of its funding rounds since its inception in 2017, but people who know the company’s dealings say it has raised over $20 million. Its investors include GoVentures of Gojek, Allianz X, Transsion Holdings, Beenext, Unbound and Justin Kan.
SafeBoda said the investment from Google’s Africa Investment Fund will help “drive its 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 welcomes Google to their community and are excited to continue to drive innovation in informal transportation and payments in the boda boda (East Africa) or okada (West Africa) industry,” said co-founder Ricky Rapa Thomson in a statement.
“This vital industry is the lifeblood of Africa’s cities and powers economic development. Safe Boda is thrilled that leading global companies such as Google see the importance of backing startups working towards these goals.”
Sourced from Google.