Google awarded up to $100,000 to 76 black founders from its $5M Google for Startups Black Founders Fund
Google announced yesterday that it’s giving up to $100,000 to 76 black founders from its $5M Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. The fund was previously announced in June as part of Google’s company-wide racial equality commitments and in recognition of the fact that today, less than one percent of Black Founders receive venture capital. The 76 startups will receive non-dilutive cash awards, meaning that unlike most investments, founders are not giving up any ownership in their company in exchange for funding.
Unlike equity dependent funds, non-dilutive cash awards allow founders to make meaningful updates to their business with no strings attached. These founders will also receive the best of Google’s technical resources, people, and best practices, through future Google for Startups programming.
Google for Startups said it is working to level the playing field for startup founders and communities to succeed by bringing the best of Google’s products, connections, and best practices to startups. Paired with a deep commitment to creating diverse startup communities, many of our offerings are designed specifically to provide underrepresented founders with access to resources and opportunities. We support startups everywhere to build something better. Because when startups succeed, we all succeed.
In a blog post, Google said:
Today, we’re announcing the 76 inspiring founders who have been selected to receive awards from the Black Founders Fund. They’re building incredible startups solving tough problems such as helping Americans get out of debt, ensuring that towns have access to clean drinking water and making our healthcare system more accessible. We interviewed every recipient and asked them the same question: What happens when you fund Black founders? And despite varied backgrounds, missions and motivations, when we asked that question, we saw some clear themes emerge in their answers.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai also said this on Twitter: “Congrats to the 76 founders who will be receiving awards from the $5M @GoogleStartups Black Founders Fund. Great to chat with some of them last week – thank you for sharing your goals, challenges + insights! https://blog.google/outreach-initiatives/entrepreneurs/black-founders-generational-change.”
Congrats to the 76 founders who will be receiving awards from the $5M @GoogleStartups Black Founders Fund. Great to chat with some of them last week – thank you for sharing your goals, challenges + insights!https://t.co/LGBc2LfMgd pic.twitter.com/hzfsF9TDeo
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) October 6, 2020
“We are committed to helping Black founders who have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and who are disproportionately locked out of access to the funding they need to succeed,” says Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups US. “By combining cash awards with Google for Startups mentorship and programming, we hope to help create a more level playing field for these founders, who are building amazing companies and making an impact on their communities.”
The founders come from 16 states across the country and lead companies that do everything from using AI to detect contaminated drinking water or helping Americans get out of debt to using hip-hop to teach kids about respect. Building off past work to even the playing field for underrepresented founders, many of the founders had participated in other Google for Startups programs like the Black Founders Exchange, Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders, and the Atlanta Founders Academy.
Goodie Nation, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a better and more sustainable future through impact entrepreneurship, will be facilitating the $5 million in grants.
“Goodie Nation is honored to work with Google for startups to advance opportunities for Black founders through this program,” said Joey Womack, founder, and CEO of Goodie Nation. “Today, less than one percent of Black-founded startups receive venture capital. The Google for Startups initiative significantly increases our ability and scale to help diverse founders get access to capital, mentoring, and a community of support while they attempt to solve some of the world’s toughest problems.”
“It’s important for Google to take big steps like this to support Black entrepreneurs, it’s a necessary starting place that is intentional and one that comes with the committed financial resources and wrap-around support through it’s partnered networks who are also cultural business leaders which greatly matters,” says Kenya McKnight-Ahad, Founder & President of Black Women’s Wealth Alliance, “ I’m excited, especially in these times of uncertainty, the world will be what we make it and I’m here to do my part.”
“Receiving this great recognition positively impacts our ability to bring our latest product to market and immediately create value for our customers at a time when the sheer number of groups working apart is massive. This and future funding, coupled with the access to technical resources and programming Google is providing, increases our chances of success and helps sustain our team’s relentless drive towards our mission to make remote and independent work more social and more accessible,” says Darren Buckner, founder of Workfrom
“The funding and support from Google are instrumental in a number of ways for us, “ says Harold Hughes, Founder, and CEO of Bandwagon. “In a practical sense, it allows us to bring on another software engineer which is helping us create a job for a talented person in the midst of a pandemic. From a symbolic point of view, selecting Bandwagon as a recipient of this funding reinforces the idea that you can truly build anywhere.”
“Thanks to the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, TruGenomix will further advance its efforts to bring earlier diagnosis and treatment for behavioral health disorders like PTSD to military, veterans, first responders, healthcare workers, and trauma-exposed communities at large,” said Charles Cathlin, co-founder & CEO.