Author Archives: Kaili Emmrich

An accelerator for early-stage Latino founders

After 10 years of working with early-stage founders at Google for Startups, I’ve seen time and time again how access activates potential. Access to capital is the fuel that makes startups go, access to community keeps them running, and access to mentorship helps them navigate the road to success.

But access to the resources needed to grow one's business are still not evenly distributed. Despite being the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., only 3% of Latino-owned companies ever reach $1 million in revenue. As part of our commitment to support the Latino founder community, today we're announcing a new partnership with Visible Hands, a Boston-based venture capital firm dedicated to investing in the potential of underrepresented founders.

During last year’s Google for Startups Founders Academy, I met Luis Suarez, a founder and fellow Chicagoan whose startup, Sanarai, addresses the massive gap in Spanish- speaking mental health providers in the U.S. Sanarai connects Latinos to therapists in Latin American countries for virtual sessions in their native language. When I asked Luis about the most helpful programs he had participated in, he highly recommended Visible Hands. The program gave Luis the opportunity to work alongside a community of diverse founders to grow his startup and have also helped him craft his early fundraising strategy. Visible Hands also supplies stipends to their participants, helping founders who might otherwise not be able to take the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.

Inspired by feedback from founders like Luis, Google for Startups is partnering with Visible Hands to run a 20-week fellowship program, VHLX, to better support the next wave of early-stage Latino founders across the U.S. and to create greater economic opportunity for the Latino community. In addition to hands-on support from Google and industry experts, we are providing $10,000 in cash for every VHLX participant to help kickstart their ideas. Following the program, founders will have the opportunity to receive additional investment from Visible Hands, up to $150,000.

Our work with Visible Hands and our recent partnership with eMerge Americas is part of a$7 million commitment to increase representation and support of the Latino startup community. I’m also looking forward to the Google for Startups Latino Leaders Summit in Miami this June, where in partnership with Inicio Ventures we’re bringing together around 30 top community leaders and investors from across the country to discuss how we can collectively support Latino founders in ways that will truly make a difference. And soon, we'll share the recipients Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund.

If you or someone you know would be a great fit for VHLX, encourage them to apply by June 24.

Apply now for the Google for Startups Founders Academy

Starting today, Google for Startups is accepting applications for the third cohort of our Founders Academy, which focuses on supporting Black, Latinx and veteran founders across the US. If you’re interested in joining this virtual, four-month program, apply here by January 10, 2022.

Founders Academy equips founders with the tools, best practices and community needed to raise capital and grow their startups. Googlers and industry experts lead weekly sessions that cover topics like fundraising, hiring and product development. All participants are paired with a Google mentor who helps set clear business goals for the program and connect founders to people who can help them achieve these ambitions. Additionally, participants are provided access to investor office hours, PR support, and mental health coaches at no cost.

Hear what a few of this year’s Founders Academy alumni have to say about what this experience has meant for their startups.

Edna Martinson, Founder of Boddle Learningin Tulsa, Oklahoma

“Boddle had begun raising a round of funding when we started the Founders Academy. The timing was fortuitous because it allowed us to take advantage of the program’s investor-in-residence. Tony was instrumental in helping us crystallize our pitch to VCs and gain better insights on negotiating for the $1.45M funding round that we eventually raised.

We also worked closely with Google mentors throughout the program. When we ran our first TV ad, Google marketing employees provided valuable feedback on the commercial and on our overall brand strategy. Our assigned Google mentor, Jacob, helped us develop quarterly and annual company goals which has given us much needed structure as we continue to rapidly grow (80,000+ new students now sign up every week!). It’s been several months since we’ve completed the program and we still regularly keep in touch with our Googler friends.”

Luis Suarez, Founder of Sanaraiin Chicago, Illinois

“As a founder working in the mental health space, it’s my job to be on the lookout for the emotional and psychological well-being of my employees, my customers and myself. The Founders Academy provided me with a mental health coach, and I worked closely with them every week. Being able to come to this program with a clear mind — thanks in part to that therapist — made the Founders Academy experience that much better for me and my business. The programming, combined with an amazing community of fellow founders, was an incredible experience for our team.”

Janice Omadeke, Founder of The Mentor Methodin Austin, Texas

“With the changing work environment during the shutdown, I knew there was an opportunity to scale The Mentor Method, and wanted guidance on how to iterate our customer acquisition strategy to match the expanding market. I found exactly what I was looking for during the sales and storytelling portion of the program which was led by a team who trains Google’s own salespeople. This part of the program was my favorite because it showed me the importance of being my company’s best advocate and gave me new tools to effectively communicate my business to prospective investors, customers, and strategic partners.

Over the past year, my startup has doubled its revenue, more than quadrupled its employees, and raised over $1.5M in funding. I’ve been thrilled to achieve this sort of growth for the business, but I’d be lying if I said it’s been all smiles. Mid-program I experienced the loss of my mother, and, almost immediately, my program mental health coach Genie stepped in to help me balance my mind and my business during such a difficult time. I’m so grateful to her and to the Founders Academy community for the opportunity as well as the ongoing support.”

Interested founders can apply here by January 10th, 2022.

Startup with Google, a resource to help young companies succeed

Since 2011, Google has partnered with over 50 community organizations to help startup communities around the world flourish. Startups within those communities and spaces we run have created more than 40,000 jobs and raised more than $3.9 billion in funding. Today we’re introducing a new resource to help young companies continue to make their big ideas a reality—Startup with Google.

Ivonna Dumanyan and Gabrielle Levac are lifelong athletes. When they started playing Division 1 sports in college, they were often sidelined by injuries, leaving them isolated from their teams and forcing them to miss precious opportunities to compete after months of training. They realized these recurring injuries could be avoidable—and decided to do something about it. They developed a small, wearable device that could detect fatigue, then alert coaches and training staff of elevated injury risk.

Their device was a big hit, and soon their idea grew into Fathom AI, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to help collegiate athletes avoid injuries. Based in Durham, NC, the Fathom team works out of the American Underground tech hub space, a Google for Entrepreneurs partner. There, the Fathom team receives mentorship, training, and access to a community as well as Google resources and programming. 

Ivonna and Gabrielle are just two of the many startup founders who have taken advantage of Google's startup resources and communities to get the expertise and connections to help them grow, as well as tools like G Suite, Google Cloud, AdWords, Android and Google Play to help them build. Now, by bringing together all our resources for startups in one place with Startup with Google, we hope to make it even easier for startups like Fathom to thrive.

Ivonna Dumanyan and Gabrielle Levac, founders of Fathom AI

At Startup with Google, you'll find insights from startup founders and Google teams on hiring, improving team collaboration, and raising a round of funding. Startup with Google also features our network of Campus coworking spaces, Google Developers Launchpad programs, and partner communities, which provide opportunities for founders to connect with the local community, mentors, and investors who can help them succeed.

Startup founders like Ivonna and Gabrielle have big things to accomplish. We can help them, and other founders—check out to find Google's resources for startups, all in one place.