Google announced today that it has made the first investment from its Africa Investment Fund in the Ugandan super app, SafeBoda. The Africa Investment Fund is part of a broader plan by Google to support digital transformation in Africa.
The undisclosed investment comes only two months after Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai revealed the company’s plans to invest $1 billion in “tech-led initiatives” over the next five years, including a $50 million Africa Investment Fund aimed at early- and growth-stage African startups.
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.”
What you should know about SafeBoda
Founded in 2017 by Alastair Sussock, Ricky Rapa Thomson, and Maxime Dieudonne, SafeBoda, is a start-up offering an innovative solution to motorcycle taxi transportation in Africa. The on-demand service focuses on safety, security, and building community between SafeBoda drivers and passengers.
Safeboda is based in Uganda and Nigeria and has investors including GoVentures (GoJek), Allianz X, Unbound, Beenext, and Justin Kan.
Over 1 million customers in Uganda and Nigeria use the startup’s services, which include transportation, parcel delivery, food and shop, payments, savings, and other financial services. In both markets, the company has over 25,000 drivers who have processed over 40 million orders.
What they are saying
Ricky Rapa Thomson co-founder of SafeBoda said, “SafeBoda welcomes Google to their community and is excited to continue to drive innovation in informal transportation and payments in the boda boda (East Africa) or okada (West Africa) industry,”
“This vital industry is the lifeblood of Africa’s cities and powers economic development. SafeBoda is thrilled that leading global companies such as Google see the importance of backing startups working towards these goals.”
Speaking on the investment, Nitin Gajria, Managing Director for Google in Africa said, “I am thrilled about our first investment from the $50M Africa Investment Fund that we announced two months ago. This is part of our 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.”