Over a month after Google announced the expansion of its “AI First” accelerator to Africa, the big tech has selected 11 African startups for the first cohort of the programme.
The selected startups include three startups from Nigeria; Famasi Africa, Izifin and Vyz. Others are Avalon Health (South Africa), Chatbots Africa (Ghana), Dial Afrika Inc (Kenya), Fastagger Inc (Kenya), Lengo AI (Senegal), Logistify AI (Uganda), Garri Logistics (Ethiopia) and Telliscope (Ethiopia).
A report by McKinsey Global Institute shows that AI can grow Africa's GDP to $1.3 trillion by 2030. “It is an undeniable potential to fuel solutions and drive economic prosperity. As we stand on the brink of a technological renaissance, the role of AI in reshaping our world becomes increasingly evident,” says Folarin Aiyegbusi, Google’s head of startup ecosystem in Africa.
Aiyegbusi said that the 11 selected startups would undergo a 10-week accelerator journey, beyond benefiting from Google’s AI expertise and a $350,000 allocation in Google Cloud Credits. He added that the startups would benefit from mentorship sessions, technical guidance, and networking opportunities to enhance their reach and impact.
“With Google’s mentorship, we are confident of scaling our solutions, reaching more pharmacies, and ultimately improving healthcare outcomes,” Adeola Ayoola, co-founder of Famasi Africa.
“AI First is more than a program,” Aiyegbusi said. “It’s a testament to our belief in the vision of these startups, ensuring they have the support and guidance they need to realise their full potential.”
“While the African tech ecosystem is rapidly evolving, investment in AI startups is still in its infancy,” says Monalisa Agbata, an emerging technology analyst. In the first half of this year, funding for the sector in Africa plummeted 98% compared to H1 2022, according to BD Funding Tracker. Globally, AI funding plunged 43% in Q1 2023, compared to the same period in the previous year, CB Insights says it's the lowest quarterly total since Q1 2018.