African esports platform Gamr has been selected for the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.
The Founders Fund will provide $100,000 (£88,000) in non-dilutive capital to Gamr, meaning its owners will not give up equity in exchange for the funding. Gamr will also receive another $100,000 in Google Cloud credits to support the organisation with technical assistance, and the use of Google’s array of tools and teams.
Despite being less than a year old, Gamr already boasts a community of 89,000 users across 12 African nations. It provides a tournament organisation platform to African players through its app and web platform.
Its all-black leadership team is responsible for hosting tournaments like Techplus Esports, and nurturing young would-be esports professionals by awarding prize money.
Africa has been historically under-served by both the esports community and developers of competitive games in the past. League of Legends and VALORANT still have no dedicated African servers, and few large-scale esports tournaments are hosted in the region. Despite this, South Africa has a number of teams and tournament organisers.
Gamr will join a select few tech startups deemed to have ‘high potential’ by Google, each one with a Black founder. Gamr is somewhat an outlier because two-thirds of its leadership team are based outside the US, where the majority of support recipients are based.
Other companies receiving support from Google through the programme include music-based dating app Beatmatch, mobile gaming social media network XR Sports, and Pharoah’s Conclave, an Atlanta-based organisation that prepares youth for careers in esports.
Gamr CEO Eniola Edun explained that the company’s selection was a major milestone. “As the first African esports company to be backed by this fund we’re expecting exponential growth across all fronts,” she stated.