Safeboda riders at a stage. PHOTO/COURTESY

Google has announced that it is investing in Uganda’s ride hailing giant SafeBoda as part of the tech giant’s Africa Investment Fund. 

While the amount of investment was not disclosed, Nitin Gajria, the managing director for Google in Africa, said this is part of Google’s $50 million Africa Investment Fund, which it launched in October.

“I am thrilled about our first investment from the $50 million 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.”

Under the Africa Investment Fund, Google will invest $50m in startups and provide them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build impactful products for their communities.

Ricky Rapa Thomson, the co-founder of SafeBoda, welcomed the funding, saying it will help drive the company’s growth.

“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,” Ricky Rapa Thomson said.

“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,” he added.

Safe Boda started as a ride-hailing platform but has since diversified to offer parcel delivery, food and shop, payments, savings and other financial services 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.