Google will begin investing in Africa-based companies through its Africa Investment Fund, running it alongside non-equity schemes Startups Accelerator Africa and Black Founders Fund.

US-headquartered internet technology provider Google has revealed at its Google for Africa event it has formed a $50m venture capital vehicle to back early to growth-stage companies based on the continent.

Africa Investment Fund will provide equity funding on a sector and geography-agnostic basis, in addition to providing the entrepreneurs with access to Google’s employees, network and technologies.

The initiative is part of $1bn in technology investment Google plans to make in Africa over the next five years, in areas including internet infrastructure and digital literacy.

Nitin Gajria, Google managing director of sub-Saharan Africa, said: “We are focusing on investments where we believe that Google could add value. If there are founders building interesting products solving real challenges in Africa, that would fall squarely within our investment thesis.”

Google has already been involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region through its Google for Startups Accelerator Africa scheme, having supplied equity-free mentoring support to more than 80 seed to series A-stage startups.

The corporate has also created the Black Founders Fund to provide non-dilutive funding for black entrepreneurs based in Africa as well as the United States, Brazil and Europe.