Author Archives: Jewel Burks Solomon

Our continued investment in Black founders and funders

For too long, Black startup founders and Black investors have been locked out of the funding necessary to succeed. In 2020, Black founders raised less than 1% of all venture capital dollars invested in the U.S. This disparity has not only hindered innovation, but also limited opportunities for economic opportunity, wealth generation and upward mobility. That’s why we made a series of commitments in 2020 to improve access to capital for Black founders and funders.

We're three years into these commitments, and we continue to invest in the Black startup community. In that time, we’ve expanded our Google for Startups Black Founders Fund globally. We have now provided $30 million in non-dilutive cash funding (meaning without taking equity in the startup) and support to entrepreneurs in the U.S., Brazil, Europe and Africa, where earlier this week we announced the second group of recipients to receive funding. We’ve also allocated $100 million to Black-led venture capital firms, startups and the organizations that support them. Today we're sharing the latest recipients of these respective programs.

The next Google for Startups Black Founders Fund recipients in the U.S.

We’re welcoming 50 more entrepreneurs to the Black Founders Fund. Their businesses are solving important problems. Welfie, for example, provides equitable healthcare to families across the country, and Tanoshi serves tens of thousands of students with educational tools. These companies aren’t just doing good; they're also growing quickly and building sustainable businesses. Here are a few more founders from this year’s group and their plans for the funding.

In addition to $100,000 in cash funding, founders receive $100,000 in Cloud credits, hands-on support from Googlers and access to mental health and business coaching at no cost. Founders have told us this funding has provided the spark they’ve needed to hire, boost revenues and raise the additional capital critical to their growth. In fact, the recipients of our first $10 million in funding in the U.S. have gone on to raise 13 times that amount — over $139 million in follow-on funding after our investment. With the help of our people, products and resources, we know Google is uniquely positioned to catalyze the growth of Black-led startups.

Investing in more Black-led venture capital funds

A historic scarcity of Black investors has contributed to the sparse funding levels among Black founders. Black investors are more likely to have Black founders in their networks and more likely to empathize with business models serving Black communities. By supporting Black funders we’re able to increase both our reach and impact.

In 2020, Alphabet committed $100 million to invest in Black-led venture capital firms, startups and organizations supporting Black entrepreneurs. Last year, our Alphabet-wide team led by leaders across CapitalG, GV and Google allocated $60 million in capital to six Black-led venture capital firms, as well as Black-owed startups and nonprofit organizations supporting Black entrepreneurship and business. In addition to capital, these investors received training, technology and advisory sessions from experts across Alphabet and Google. Today, we’re sharing the news that we’ve deployed the remaining capital to a number of nonprofit organizations and the following Black-led venture firms:

  • Black Tech Nation Ventures: a Pittsburgh-based technology venture fund that is majority Black-owned and majority diverse-invested and focused on wealth creation for untapped markets and underinvested entrepreneurs.
  • Collide Capital: a Los Angeles and New York-based 100% Black-owned VC firm aiming to usher in a new era of venture capital where opportunities go to the most deserving, not the most privileged. Building off of the success of their top-quartile Fund Zero of 34 companies, the Collide Capital team has closed a Fund I to invest in founders with the lived experiences, courage, and grit to create solutions for the next generation.
  • Concrete Rose: a Bay Area-based investment fund focused on using financial and social capital to build exceptional early-stage companies and close gaps for underrepresented talent. Concrete Rose also received funding during the previous capital allocation announced last year.
  • Heirloom Capital Partners: an Atlanta-based investment fund founded by founder-operator and board director Tristan Walker. Heirloom aims to partner with the founders of disruptive, meaningful companies committed to developing culturally connected products and services that improve lives and serve the needs of people of color.
  • Serena Ventures: a San Francisco-based investment firm that champions founders whose perspectives and innovations level the playing field for all types of entrepreneurs. Serena Ventures invests in products and ideas that unlock value for investors, doors for founders and opportunities for everyone to live better.
  • Share Ventures: a Los Angeles-based investment fund focused on performance management. Share Ventures is a venture studio building the infrastructure to repeatedly discover, validate, and scale new companies.
  • Zeal Capital Partners: headquartered in Washington, DC, Zeal serves as a category-specific early-stage investment franchise that partners with exceptional, diverse management teams. Leveraging their market-backed investment discipline coined “Inclusive Investing,” they invest in financial technology and future of work startups that use technology to narrow the wealth and skills gaps.

We’ve seen firsthand how this powerful combination of financial support with mentorship, training, mental health coaching and community contributes to helping fuel innovation, wealth generation and equal access to economic opportunity. And we will continue to find opportunities to support these incredible Black founders and funders. Next up, our Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders, which provides deep technical support for later stage startups, kicks off with its newest group of participants this fall. And later this year, we’ll bring together our Georgia-based Black Founders Fund recipients, investors, partners and more in Atlanta to celebrate those founders and share more about their businesses. We’re looking forward to seeing where these companies go from here.

Funding Black founders fuels generational change

As part of a series of racial equity commitments made in June, we announced the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, a $5 million initiative to provide cash awards up to $100,000 to Black led startups in the US. These awards are non-dilutive, meaning that unlike most investments, founders are not giving up any ownership in their company in exchange for funding.  

Today, we’re announcing the 76 inspiring founderswho 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. 

When you fund Black founders, you:

  • Bring different perspectives to old and new challenges. Whether it's creating technology to form stronger bonds between teachers and parents or using data analytics to help small businesses thrive, Black founders approach big problems for their communities and our world in a way that no one else can. 

  • Level the playing field and build momentum for success. Black founders are consistently locked out of access to early capital that is critical to jump-starting their businesses. With better access to capital early in their journey, founders can make critical hires and prove traction, setting their business up for sustained success. “I can't tell you how many times I've seen other companies that had less traction than us raise more money at higher valuations,” Qoins's Nate Washington tells us, “because they had family or friends funding to get them started.” 

  • Fuel wealth generation and create equal access to economic opportunity.Founders, of course, want success for their businesses. But almost all of the recipients that we spoke with are building their startups in order to ultimately give back to their communities and to pave the way for the next generation of Black founders.

In the U.S., less than one percent of venture capital goes to Black founders. Racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity around the world, and that’s why we’ve also announced funding to support Black founders in Brazil and across Europe. We know that hands-on support and connections are necessary elements to any founder’s success. With these funds, we are also committing to growing a relationship that brings these founders the best of Google.