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Google’s Africa Investment Fund announces investment in Uganda’s SafeBoda


Google has announced its first investment from its Africa Investment Fund in Ugandan motorbike-hailing App SafeBoda.

According to TechCrunch, 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.

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 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 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.” 

Ricky Rapa Thomson, C.E.O

The Investment in SafeBoda was made to “strengthen a relationship with a potential future partner that has strategically aligned vision of better logistics and transportation.” Asked about how many investments to expect in the coming year, the spokesperson said Google isn’t setting any expectations in that regard.

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