New Podcast: Ezana Raswork, Founder, Taskmoby & Africa 118

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Episode 24 of the BIG5D Podcast features Ezana Raswork, founder and CEO of Africa 118, an East African local search platform, and of Taskmoby, an on-demand home services marketplace platform based in Ethiopia.

Taskmoby connects consumers with vetted service providers, including domestic workers, plumbers, electricians, with more categories coming.

Taskmoby made news recently when it was named as one of 50 startups receiving investments from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Africa.

This is a meaningful award. Google has invested $3 million in the fund, which translates into non-dilutive cash investments up to $100,000. The award also includes Google Ads and Google Cloud credits worth up to $220,000, plus mentorship and technical support.

“It’s fantastic,” Ezana, an Ethiopian, said of the award. “It’s an award that recognizes African founders and helps us get to the next level.”

The startup investments come amid Google’s announcement that it plans to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years.

Google’s focus on African founders comes at a time of increasing scrutiny over the racial disparities in venture funding in Africa. Expat founders are widely perceived to be given preferential treatment from investors over native African founders.

Several requirements of the Google Fund are designed to ensure that genuinely African companies get their support. These include requiring at least one black C-suite founder and having both headquarters and legal presence in Africa.

Ezana said that even he was surprised at the extent of the disparity.

“One stat that I didn’t know was, they’re telling me, that in East Africa only 10% of funds are going to black African founders,” Ezana said.

Listen to the podcast

The BIG5D Podcast · Episode 24: Ezana Raswork, Africa 118 & Taskmoby

Our conversation with Ezana also focused on Africa’s on-demand home services market, which we wrote about last week.

Specifically, we discussed the challenges in building a two-sided marketplace for home services in Africa. And why, at least thus far, investors have stayed largely on the sidelines, at least when compared with other sectors like fintech and eCommerce.

However, Ezana says development agencies do take an interest in this space, largely because it can play a positive role in job creation.

Some progress was made recently on the venture funding front when Nigerian home services platform Eden Life raised a $1.4 million seed round.

Watch the full interview


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