Brastorne Selected as Recipient of The Google Black Founder’s Fund for Africa Program

Brastorne Enterprises has been announced as one of the 60 beneficiaries of the Google Black Founders Fund Africa 2022 program. The cohort represents 10 African countries with Botswana joining for the first time, represented by Brastorne.

The Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund provides non-dilutive cash awards to Black led startups that have participated in their programs or have been nominated by partner communities or a previous recipient. Selected founders receive up to $100,000 (about 1.2 million pula) in capital along with Google cloud credits, advert grants and hands-on support to help their startup grow. Google started its Black Founders Fund in 2021 as a commitment to invest in Black entrepreneurs to fuel generational change. This is because Google is uniquely positioned to provide capital and support to help founders grow their businesses, as well as create opportunities for founders to thrive and create greater impact for their communities.

Brastorne applied for the opportunity to join this year’s program early this year, along with thousands of other eager startups in Africa and across the world. “We saw the program as an opportunity to learn from the best in the world and obtain support to scale our solutions to new markets and carry out our mandate to bridge the digital gap for less fortunate Africans.” Brastorne is a Botswana founded company which is committed to connecting 760 million Africans who lack meaningful access to today’s digital world. “We connect unconnected rural mobile users with our solutions, and work in partnership with organizations such as Orange, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Draper Richard Kaplan Foundation, Stanford University (Stanford Seed Programme), Mercy Corps, and now

Google” says Brastorne Co-founder, Naledi Magowe. Brastorne is best known for their mobile solutions – mpotsa, mAgri and Vuka chat which enable under-served users to build communities, connect, access timely information, and participate in a mobile marketplace. “Given Brastorne’s success in Botswana and solution scalability, we have since launched our flagship mAgri solution in the DRC in partnership with Orange DRC and Mercy Corps and have reached nearly 2 million users in Africa. This quarter we are implementing a commercial launch in Cameroon and Guinea.” – Martin Stimela, Brastorne Founder and CEO.

Access to capital remains a major problem in Africa – in 2021 African tech startups collectively raised $4.3 billion – a 2.5 increase from 2020 funding. This growth, however, does not discount the existence of a significant funding gap for locally founded African start-ups, as 82% of them report difficulties in accessing funding. This year 60 additional start-ups were selected as beneficiaries of the Google for start-ups Black Founders Fund in Africa initiative. Last year 50 black-led businesses across the continent were supported through the program and have gone on to raise $73 million in following-on funding, hired 518 staff members and grown their revenue. Similar to other African start-ups, Brastorne has also faced challenges in accessing funding. “Getting funded is already difficult enough as an African founder and ten times harder if you are a Botswana founded start-up. The little funding available comes from the western world (Europe and America) and is usually diverted to East Africa, west Africa and South-Africa. Botswana is often excluded and unrepresented. We have a very small and nascent start-up ecosystem which hasn’t attracted a lot of investors, which is quite unfortunate. However, we are proud to raise the country’s flag and show that something remarkable and scalable can come from Botswana’s tech ecosystem” – Naledi Magowe.

Brastorne has previously received some accolades – they were selected as one of the Solvers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Solve 2021 Initiative and were the first local company to advance to the finalist stage. They also won the Hewlett Packard (HP) award in 2021 for advancing digital equity.

Learn more about Brastorne Enterprises and its impact on under-served communities in Africa here