Tag Archives: Entrepreneurs

New training programs for European and Israeli startups

Starting a successful company is a difficult job for anyone. But because the startup playing field isn’t level, some entrepreneurs have a tougher time than others. Many women and BIPOC founders have comparatively limited access to capital, mentorship, talent and networking opportunities. More than 7 in 8 people working for European startups identify as Caucasian or White, but only 20 percent of founders are women; and 92 percent of funding in 2019 went to all-male teams. Particularly in times of economic downturn like the current crisis, startups facing these challenges could use even more support.

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Founders from the Google for Startups Germany community

Google for Startups aims to empower startups and equip founders with the resources they need to solve today's biggest challenges. Today, we’re announcing three new programs that will help European and Israeli startups access Google’s products and experts to grow their businesses, including two programs for founders from underrepresented groups.


Immersion: Black Founders

This program will pair ten Black founders from Europe and Israel with international Google experts to identify and solve their most pressing technical and business challenges, such as implementing machine learning and improving user experience design. The program will provide connections to venture capital funding and investor networks, and offer workshops focused on fundraising, hiring and sales. Apply here.


Immersion: Women Founders

Applications are open for this mentoring and acceleration program that will offer the 12 participating female founders access to a dedicated Google Advisor, in addition to ongoing weekly workshops and skill-building sessions over the course of 12 weeks. In the words of Charlotte Guzzo, founder of Sano Genetics and a Google for Startups UK Residency alumna, “It's a rare opportunity to work with a world-class team of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts from Google and it can really get you places you would not reach on your own.”

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Google for Startups Accelerator: Cybersecurity in Malaga, Spain, 2019

Google for Startups Accelerator

We’re looking for 10-12 startups from Europe and Israel that are using technology to solve the challenges we face today, whether in healthcare, education, news reporting, remote working, finance, wellness, food delivery, or B2B/B2C services. The participants will have access to three months of intensive remote support from Google, including workshops and mentoring sessions with Google engineers and external experts, giving them access to Google products and technical expertise. You can find more info and applications here.

With these programs, we’re committed to helping underrepresented founders access a wide range of resources and opportunities, especially during this global crisis. You can learn more and apply on our site.

Five years of Google for Startups in Korea

I found my passion for supporting startups during my first visit to Pakistan in 2013. After working at Google for more than three years, I’d decided to take on a project helping women entrepreneurs in Asia Pacific. That’s how I ended up speaking to Pakistani university students, hearing from talented female founders with a vision for change, and working to connect them with mentorship and resources. Here were smart women with big ideas—it was incredible to see them make meaningful contributions to their society, even in the most difficult situations. 

After a few years, I heard about a new project in Korea: an opportunity to continue  supporting founders, but this time in my home country. Campus Seoul, a dedicated space where startups can receive training and mentorship, opened its doors in the summer of 2015, becoming the first Google space of its kind in Asia (we’ve since added a sister Campus in Tokyo). 

Five years in Seoul

From the beginning, we focused on building that same sense of community I’d seen in Pakistan, and putting in place support structures that Korean startups hadn’t had until then. We wanted to provide a place where startups could connect with their fellow founders, tap into Google’s knowledge and skills, and be part of our broader, global Google for Startups network. 


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A sense of community during COVID-19

Today, we see many startups struggling with the impact of COVID-19. But the Korean startup community has come together in solidarity.

Founders and their employees joined a region-wide discussion with VCs about managing change

https://sites.google.com/corp/view/gfsonlinetalk/online-talk-startup-survival-funding

and took part in a wellbeing session to seek advice on dealing with stress— especially important for Korean founders, who have a hard time asking for help (even during a crisis). 

And as the need to work remotely presented new challenges, Campus alumni DableWanted, and Jaranda stepped up, hosting a virtual event to share their tips for working from home and staying strong as a team.

  • Dable CEO Chaehyun Lee recommended that, whenever possible, teams choose virtual meetings over instant messaging, to avoid missing out on non-verbal cues, get immediate clarification on questions, and prevent misunderstandings.

  • Bokkee Lee, CEO at Wanted, stressed the need to avoid communication overload—and also urged startup employees to “be each other’s pacemaker”, checking in with teammates regularly to guard against loneliness and isolation.

  • Seojung Chang, the Jaranda CEO, spoke about the importance of recognising and managing differing remote work styles, putting the efficiency of the team as a whole above that of any one person, and giving people the autonomy to work towards shared goals in their own way. 

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It’s not easy to be a startup founder, whether you’re a female entrepreneur in Pakistan or a mom with a small business idea in Korea. It’s especially difficult in a global pandemic when so much is uncertain. Helping startups build resilience and plan ahead will continue to be our first priority. 

From what I’ve seen time and time again, I know Korea’s startups will stay driven, focused and optimistic. As we look back on an amazing first five years of Google for Startups in Korea, we’ll keep providing the support, mentorship and community that our founders need. Together, we’ll get through this crisis and back to what startups do best: imagining the future, and making big ideas real.

Expanding our support for Black founders

As our CEO Sundar Pichai announced today, Google will invest $175 million toward economic opportunity for Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers. A part of this initiative is the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator in the U.S: a virtual three-month program for Black founders from across the country. 

During the accelerator, startups will be paired with Google experts to identify and solve their most pressing technical challenges, everything from implementing machine learning to developing mobile apps to improving user experience design. Founders will also participate in workshops focused on fundraising, hiring and sales. Interested startups can apply through June 30th and the accelerator will kick off in August. This will be the first in a series of Google for Startups Accelerators focused on underrepresented founders.

Along with the accelerator, we're creating a $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. This fund will provide cash awards up to $100,000 to selected startups from our U.S. programs and partner communities. These cash awards will go to startups with Black founders, who have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and who are disproportionately locked out of access to capital.

These efforts are a part of our longstanding and growing commitment to support the Black startup community through partnerships with organizations like Founder Gym, Backstage Capital, and American Underground which are working to close the funding gap and empower Black entrepreneurs. This year, we’ve focused our efforts in Atlanta, forging new partnerships with the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Collab Studio, and creating the Google for Startups Founders Academy.

Though we see this as a step forward, we know there is much more work to be done to level the playing field for founders. If you or someone you know would be a great fit for the Google for Startups Accelerator, encourage them to apply by June 30th.

One founder’s mission to make healthcare more accessible

In 2018, women received only 2.2 percent of all venture capital funding. Women Techmakers, Google’s program to build visibility, community and resources for women in technology, is committed to changing this narrative. That’s why we launched Founded, a web series that shares the stories of women founders who are using tech to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. To highlight the stories of four women of color tech entrepreneurs, for our first season we’re taking our viewers to Atlanta, home of one of the largest technology hubs in the U.S

In our latest episode, we interviewed Chrissa McFarlane who is the Founder and CEO of the blockchain startup Patientory (which is also helping distribute diagnostic kits and medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis). She first learned about bitcoin in 2010, started working on broader blockchain solutions in 2015 and later published her book, "Future Women: Minority Female Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Era of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency."

Tell me about the moment when you first came up with the idea for Patientory. 

I was working with a telemedicine company and experienced first hand the difficulty patients have obtaining access to their medical information. I was also actively researching Bitcoin and Blockchain at the time and made a connection between the two industries. 

What was your vision for healthcare? What problem are you hoping to solve?

For over a decade, the main problem in the healthcare industry is  the topic of interoperability. The ability to access health information securely and easily across multiple providers has been a challenge. I recently wrote about this for the Electronic Health Reporter

Where do you see Patientory going within the next five years? 

Looking past our current pandemic, I see Patientory providing the capability to keep large populations of people around the world healthy. This year proved that we need access to digital health solutions more than ever. Telemedicine usage rose over 70 percent for certain apps. Being able to treat patients is not going to stop with an office visit, but should be an ongoing engagement that can be facilitated by technology. 

As a fellow New Yorker, I’m curious about your upbringing in the Bronx. How did it shape your vision for your work?

Growing up in the Bronx, I was exposed to various cultures and many different people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. During my first internship at the New York City Human Resource Administration/Department of Social Services, I met with hundreds of families across the city. This opened me up to  discrepancies that existed, especially as it related to healthcare; it helped to shape the mission behind Patientory in serving all people regardless of class or race.  

What are some of the first steps you took when starting your company?

I found advisors and mentors who would help me for the long-term. One of the most important factors of running a business is having strong relationships. 

 Two years ago, you made headlines after securing $7.2 million in funding in two days. How were you able to raise so much so fast?

Being a pioneer in the space, it was difficult to secure the first round of institutional funding. So we decided to create a cryptocurrency, called PTOY, through our Foundation. More than 1,000 people all over the world purchased the cryptocurrency, which secured over $7 million in funding for Patientory. It also provided grants to support early stage companies building blockchain healthcare solutions, which later translated into interest and continued support for Patientory’s initial capital raise. 

What advice do you have for other women interested in starting their own technology companies? 

Connect with an ecosystem, whether it’s an accelerator or incubator, and never stop talking to customers! I recently wrote a book about women entering the modern entrepreneurial world, and I talk about the 10 important mindsets you should have when you’re starting a business—for example, persistence and coachabilty. 

One founder’s mission to make healthcare more accessible

In 2018, women received only 2.2 percent of all venture capital funding. Women Techmakers, Google’s program to build visibility, community and resources for women in technology, is committed to changing this narrative. That’s why we launched Founded, a web series that shares the stories of women founders who are using tech to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. To highlight the stories of four women of color tech entrepreneurs, for our first season we’re taking our viewers to Atlanta, home of one of the largest technology hubs in the U.S

In our latest episode, we interviewed Chrissa McFarlane who is the Founder and CEO of the blockchain startup Patientory (which is also helping distribute diagnostic kits and medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis). She first learned about bitcoin in 2010, started working on broader blockchain solutions in 2015 and later published her book, "Future Women: Minority Female Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Era of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency."

Tell me about the moment when you first came up with the idea for Patientory. 

I was working with a telemedicine company and experienced first hand the difficulty patients have obtaining access to their medical information. I was also actively researching Bitcoin and Blockchain at the time and made a connection between the two industries. 

What was your vision for healthcare? What problem are you hoping to solve?

For over a decade, the main problem in the healthcare industry is  the topic of interoperability. The ability to access health information securely and easily across multiple providers has been a challenge. I recently wrote about this for the Electronic Health Reporter

Where do you see Patientory going within the next five years? 

Looking past our current pandemic, I see Patientory providing the capability to keep large populations of people around the world healthy. This year proved that we need access to digital health solutions more than ever. Telemedicine usage rose over 70 percent for certain apps. Being able to treat patients is not going to stop with an office visit, but should be an ongoing engagement that can be facilitated by technology. 

As a fellow New Yorker, I’m curious about your upbringing in the Bronx. How did it shape your vision for your work?

Growing up in the Bronx, I was exposed to various cultures and many different people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. During my first internship at the New York City Human Resource Administration/Department of Social Services, I met with hundreds of families across the city. This opened me up to  discrepancies that existed, especially as it related to healthcare; it helped to shape the mission behind Patientory in serving all people regardless of class or race.  

What are some of the first steps you took when starting your company?

I found advisors and mentors who would help me for the long-term. One of the most important factors of running a business is having strong relationships. 

 Two years ago, you made headlines after securing $7.2 million in funding in two days. How were you able to raise so much so fast?

Being a pioneer in the space, it was difficult to secure the first round of institutional funding. So we decided to create a cryptocurrency, called PTOY, through our Foundation. More than 1,000 people all over the world purchased the cryptocurrency, which secured over $7 million in funding for Patientory. It also provided grants to support early stage companies building blockchain healthcare solutions, which later translated into interest and continued support for Patientory’s initial capital raise. 

What advice do you have for other women interested in starting their own technology companies? 

Connect with an ecosystem, whether it’s an accelerator or incubator, and never stop talking to customers! I recently wrote a book about women entering the modern entrepreneurial world, and I talk about the 10 important mindsets you should have when you’re starting a business—for example, persistence and coachabilty. 

11 startups addressing global problems—here’s how we’re helping


When we announced our Google for Startups Accelerator on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in November, we did not foresee how dramatically day-to-day life would soon change. The COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread health, social and economic consequences have made the goal of the program—to help founders build technology to  solve serious issues facing our world—even more pressing. 

We received almost 1,200 applications from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and—together with an external jury—we carefully evaluated each of these ideas. Today, we’re announcing the 11 startups selected to participate in our inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator on the SDGs. These startups address a wide range of social and environmental challenges, and are working toward at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the U.N. 

Apic.ai (Germany) uses honeybees as biosensors in the fight to protect biodiversity. 

Cervest.earth (UK) provides personalized insights on the impact of climatic and extreme events, predicting the risks and effects of climate volatility in real-time, for any location on the planet. 

Ellipsis.earth (UK) uses drone imagery and machine learning to identify and track plastic pollution, aiming to provide a global database of the types of plastic waste found in our oceans, beaches and rivers.

Everimpact (France) combines satellite imagery and ground sensing to monitor air quality and carbon emissions in cities.  

Flare (Kenya) offers software infrastructure and operational support for medical emergency response services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

mDoc (Nigeria) uses a digital platform and in-person hubs to support people living with chronic diseases. 

OKO (Israel) is crop insurance designed for emerging markets, using new technologies in satellite imagery and weather forecasting to simplify and automate claim management. 

Ororatech (Germany) is the first commercial supplier of infrared satellite data for early detection and real-time monitoring of wildfires across the globe. 

Skilllab (Netherlands) uses AI to empower job seekers, such as refugees, to integrate their skill sets into local labor markets.

Solar Freeze (Kenya) is pioneering mobile cold storage units powered by renewable energy for smallholder farmers, to help them reduce post-harvest loss in the developing world.

Wondertree (Pakistan) accelerates cognitive and motor development in children with special needs through movement-based therapeutic and educational AR games. 

Each startup founder will work closely with engineers from over 20 Google teams and other subject matter experts to address product, engineering, business development, and funding challenges. Since this accelerator is focused on sustainability, founders will learn these skills through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals and relevant partners.

In order to keep the program safe and accessible in light of COVID-19, the first two on-site events will now be digital. Virtual training will cover topics such as creating Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), UX Research & Behavioral Economics, ML Data Pipelines and Data Visualization, SDG innovation for sustainable impact, and Strategies for Social Impact Fundraising. The five-month program kicks off on April 21st, and a second cohort will be selected later in the year.

Google for Startups was created to support those who want to build something better—and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do, whether online or IRL. These are just a few of the many startups working locally on global solutions, and we’ll continue to bring Google’s resources to this entrepreneurial community.

Sandeep Ahuja is comfortable confronting convention

In 2018, women received only 2.2 percent of all venture capital funding. Women Techmakers, Google’s program to build visibility, community and resources for women in technology, is committed to changing this narrative. Founded is a new web series that shares the stories of women founders using tech to solve some of the world’s challenges. For our first season, we’re taking our viewers to Atlanta, home of one of the largest technology hubs in the U.S., to highlight the stories of four women of color entrepreneurs.

Today, we’re releasing our second episode, an interview with Sandeep Ahuja. Sandeep is the co-founder of cove.tool, a software platform that helps architects and engineers model energy efficient buildings. We had the chance to talk to the Atlanta-based entrepreneur about her international upbringing, how she creates community for women in tech and how it felt to make Forbes “30 Under 30” list. 

Can you explain what cove.tool is to someone who’s not in tech?

Buildings contribute to 40 percent of total carbon emissions, and while developers and owners don’t mind doing the “right thing” for the planet, no one has unlimited budgets to spend on green building design. We still have to make things affordable and that’s exactly what cove.tool’s smart optimization does. We want to make it easier to build sustainable and green energy efficient buildings.

What originally inspired your interest in fighting climate change?

As a daughter of a diplomat, I traveled the world seeing the remarkable homogeneity of buildings in climates as diverse as Riyadh and Moscow. Given the outsized contribution buildings make to climate change, I was deeply troubled by the lack of architectural response. I wanted to disrupt this idea, and for me, given that I moved to a different country every four years, I’ve always felt comfortable with change and with confronting entrenched beliefs.  For me, there was no such thing as conforming to conventions. 

What was it like to be named to the Forbes “30 under 30” list? 

It’s both exciting and humbling; so many people reached out to express support and congratulations. It was exciting to see so many  strong women on the list, as well as so many immigrants, including myself! 

Cove.tool is meant to help architecture and engineering professionals fight climate change, but how can everyone else help? 

Getting politically active and pushing business and political leaders to take action is the key. Multinational corporations, investment firms and government regulations account for the vast majority of emissions. A good place to start in America is to join grassroots efforts like Citizens Climate Lobby, a bi-partisan organization tackling climate change. Collaborating with them is a great way to organize, volunteer and raise awareness. Writing letters to your local representative, congressperson and voting for fighting climate change candidates also makes a big difference. 

Why do you think it’s important for women in the entrepreneur and tech worlds to create community? 

Being a data driven person, the data clearly answers the "why.” Women only receive 2 percent of VC funding and make up only 11 percent of leadership in tech; this is creating a world of systematic bias. This needs to change and the change can start with me, you and everyone else. I drive change by making sure that cove.tool maintains a strong gender and diversity ratio and that we put  women in leadership roles. Our first non-founder team member was a woman, and the second was a woman, too, and they weren’t hired for any other reason aside from the fact that they deserved those roles and had the best skillsets. I also volunteer, coach and hopefully inspire other women founders and architects.

Highlights from the first year of .dev

A year ago, our Google Registry team launched .dev—a top-level domain (TLD) for developers, designers, technical writers, and technology enthusiasts. This new TLD gave people the chance to register memorable domain names that can be hard to find on older domains, with a descriptive ending that’s especially relevant to them.

The .dev TLD is on the HSTS preload list, which means it’s secure for both website owners and their visitors. Placement on the HSTS preload list ensures HTTPS encryption for your entire website, which helps protect visitors against ad malware, tracking injection from ISPs, and potential spying when using open Wi-Fi networks. With so much built-in security, .dev has become the natural place for technology makers to share resources, showcase great work, and foster community.

In the last year, over 150,000 .dev domains have been registered, and we’ve seen many creative uses of the TLD. Here are just a few of the exciting examples we’ve seen.

.dev 1 year anniversary

A video with three .dev tips

Atlassian

Atlassian launched both software.dev and cicd.dev to share insights into today’s software development landscape and how software and IT professionals use CI/CD tools. Using .dev domains helped them market both sites, which have sparked conversations on social media among the developer community.

Cloudflare

Cloudflare launched workers.dev to help developers build serverless websites and applications that deploy directly onto subdomains of workers.dev. The TLD made it possible for Cloudflare to use a domain name that’s both descriptive and easy to remember. And over the last year, they’ve seen developers create handy apps like this “lazy invoice” tool.

Salesforce

Salesforce used lwc.dev to launch a site dedicated to Lightning Web Components (their open source project) where professional developers can find online documentation, copy source code for various recipes, and engage with the Lightning Web Components community.

Google Developer Relations

The Google Developer Relations team launched google.dev for developers to explore and learn about all the technologies Google has to offer. You can sign up for the waitlist for the beta version of google.dev, which lets developers create profiles and earn badges by passing technical challenges. The team sends out new invites regularly, so be sure to sign up.

Go Programming Language

Our Go Language team launched go.dev on the 10th anniversary of the open source programming language to provide Go developers a hub where they can find learning resources, including featured use cases and customer stories of other companies using Go.

Build your own .dev experience

From the start, we envisioned .dev as a home for developers and technology makers, and it’s been wonderful to see all the amazing work showcased in this domain. To celebrate .dev’s first birthday, we created a short video of some of our favorite .dev users sharing their tips for building great websites. We hope you’ll find it useful as you begin your next project, and we hope it inspires you to create your own .dev experience. Visit get.dev to learn more and get started.

Upholding the legacy of Black entrepreneurship in Atlanta

February is Black History Month across the U.S., but here in Atlanta, Black history is everywhere, year-round. Atlanta is the number one city for Black prosperity, and the country’s fourth-largest tech hub. As more than a quarter of Atlanta's tech workers are Black, it’s clear that our city’s startup scene is just the latest iteration of a long legacy of Black entrepreneurship. There's a spirit in the city that inspired the entrepreneurs of the past, and continues to attract tech talent today.

I was one of those entrepreneurs. When I founded my own startup, Partpic, I decided to do it not in Silicon Valley, where I had started my career, but in Atlanta. Partpic was acquired in 2016, but I opted to stay in Atlanta and continue to grow my roots in the tech and business community. It’s home now. In my new role as U.S. Head of Google for Startups, I’ll lead our continued support of Atlanta’s Black founders, beginning with a few exciting efforts:

Russell Center for Innovation

Along with our friends at Grow with Google, we’re partnering with the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE), an organization that helps black entrepreneurs and local business owners build, grow and create jobs. Our support will include mentorship, scholarships and funding three RCIE fellowships designed to help students learn and practice business firsthand. 

Collab Studio

Collab Studio—a resource center providing Black founders a safe space to learn and forge community in Atlanta—has joined the Google for Startups partner network. Our funding will help Collab Studio facilitate connections and technical resources so that 20 Black founders can prepare their businesses for the next stage of growth.

Atlanta Founders Academy

The Atlanta Founders Academy, modeled off last year's pop-up at our Atlanta offices, is coming this spring. Throughout the year, we’ll host a series of hands-on programs from Googlers, experts, and investors to support underrepresented Atlanta startup founders on topics such as sales, strategy, hiring and fundraising. Spearheading these efforts will be Googler and newly-minted Atlanta Advisor-in-Residence, Michelle Green, who has been helping Fortune 500 companies grow their business for more than a decade. Learn more about how to get involved in the Atlanta Founders Academy in this form.

As a Black woman, entrepreneur and Googler, I'm proud to be a part of the living, breathing history of Atlanta. Google’s focus on providing equitable access to information, networks, and capital for underrepresented startups speaks to a larger theme in tech and innovation today: Great ideas and startups can come from anywhere and anyone, and you don’t have to be based in Silicon Valley to be successful. We have an opportunity to highlight the work of startups here in Atlanta and in other regions that have been under-resourced for too long—and the great privilege of supporting Black founders and future history-makers.

Reality TV star Tanya Sam on life as an entrepreneur

In 2018, women received only 2.2 percent of all venture capital funding. Women Techmakers, Google’s program to build visibility, community and resources for women in technology, is committed to changing this narrative. That’s why we’re launching Founded, a new web series that shares the stories of women founders who are using tech to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. To highlight the stories of four women of color tech entrepreneurs, for our first season we’re taking our viewers to Atlanta, home of one of the largest technology hubs in the U.S

In our first episode, we meet Tanya Sam, a reality TV star and tech startup investor. Through her work with Tech-Square Labs and the Ambition Fund, Tanya is strengthening the power of historically under-served entrepreneurs. 

We sat down with her to dig deeper into her vision for the tech industry. Here’s what she had to say about her past life working in healthcare, how she’s helping bring minority voices to the table and how she balances her career with filming a television show.

Today, you’re a tech entrepreneur, investor and reality TV show star—but you were a nurse for the bulk of your career. Tell me about your career transition to becoming a tech founder. 

When I first moved to Atlanta, I was still working full-time as a registered nurse, and my then-boyfriend/now fiancé Paul was launching a cybersecurity company. On our second date, he actually had to take a coffee meeting with his co-founder, and I sat in on the whole conversation. I was so impressed! I wanted to learn more about the entrepreneur world.   

My career in healthcare is actually what inspired Limitless Smart Shot: As a nurse, I worked busy 12-hour days, and we relied on coffee constantly. So I wanted to create a dietary supplement that would be healthier and could increase focus, attention, memory and support healthy brain function.  

You’re the co-founder of  Tech Square Labs, Atlanta’s lead seed stage venture fund. What was your vision for Tech Square Labs? What problems are you hoping to solve?

The vision of TechSquare Labs was to create opportunities to help tech entrepreneurs make something from nothing. Oftentimes, early entrepreneurs have an idea that they believe can become a large-scale, technology-based company, but they don’t have the resources to drive that idea. TechSquare Labs helps with everything from providing coworking space to helping teams with patent research and networking opportunities.

You also founded the Ambition Fund to invest in women and underrepresented entrepreneurs. Where do you see The Ambition Fund scaling with the next five years?

In the next five years, I plan to take the Ambition Fund Business Battles to over 50 cities across the globe, help fund over 500 companies and by that point to have also helped 1,000 women and minorities become angel investors. I want to help change the face of entrepreneurship by making it more female, more black and more diverse.

Just being on set with you for the shoot, I noticed that you have a great sense of humor. What really cracks you up?

I am truly a corny and goofy nerd at heart! I like dry, witty humor and laugh at my own dumb jokes. I try to live life to the fullest by working hard and enjoying what I do! I think that comes from my stint as an oncology nurse; it really teaches you an appreciation for life and health. 

What’s it like filming The Real Housewives of Atlanta? I’ve read you turned down the opportunity to film full-time—why?

When I was offered the chance to work on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I thought it was a great chance to show the life of a black woman working in tech on mainstream television; representation matters! But filming takes a ton of time, and it wouldn’t be possible for me to work on the Ambition Fund and TechSquare Labs, and all my other projects, if I were on the show full-time!

You do a lot of these kinds of interviews; is there anything you’d like to share that you don’t usually get asked about?

I love to talk about my passion for a nonprofit organization that I am very involved in. Kate’s Club is an Atlanta nonprofit helping young people who are facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. Kate’s Club connects kids and young adults so they can share their experiences, and helps them process their grief in a comfortable, safe, uplifting setting. I’ve been a volunteer and working with children at Kate’s Club since 2016, and I’m currently on the Board of Directors and serving as the Gala Chair for our annual Mourning Glory Gala May 16, 2020.

There’s a personal reason why Kate’s Club holds such a special place in my heart. I also experienced loss at an early age; I lost my mother at the age of 12. When I was going through that, let me tell you, there was nothing like this around for my younger sister and I. No clubhouse, no programs, no summer camps or even exposure to other kids that had experienced loss.    

Are there any stories you’d like to share about using your influencer status in a positive way?

So recently, I actually helped bring someone onto the Kate’s Club board after meeting online. I use my Instagram Stories to talk about my work at Kate’s Club, and I had a woman reach out to me to share her grief story, and she ended up making a donation right there over Instagram. And now, just this week, she ended up joining the board!