With less than 0.25 per cent of VC funding going to black-led startups there is a serious disparity in the startup ecosystem.
Just 38 black founders received VC funding in the past year despite there being a surge in activity during the pandemic.
Now Google wants to try and plug that gap by investing $2m in 30 tech firms across Europe, including 20 in the UK.
“To receive close to 800 quality applications proves there is not a pipeline problem in tech,” Rachael Palmer, head of VC and startup partnerships in EMEA at Google.
“There are many innovative Black-led businesses that would significantly benefit from better access to early-stage funding. For these startups to succeed, we need to see a wider commitment to change from the entire startup ecosystem.”
The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund will provide each business with up to $100,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, meaning founders don’t have to give up any ownership in their company.
The companies will also receive up to $220,000 in Google Ad Grants and Cloud credits as well as a mentoring programme and workshops.
“Non-dilutive equity is the golden ticket for any startup and by providing this as part of the BFF initiative just shows how Google is prioritising the funding gap issue for Black founders,” Nnamdi Emelifeonwu, CEO and founder of legal tech company Define.
“This is going to be really useful and couldn’t have come at a more apt time for us as we enter our next phase of growth.” Emelifeonwu said the team is growing rapidly, having hired five people in the last three months and is also targeting a seed funding round.
The 30 companies span a range of sectors, from health tech to food and fintechs. Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK, singled out education influencer company Scoodle as one of the most promising companies.
Scoodle claims to help tutors become influencers and has already been backed by the likes of Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
Below is the full list of companies that will receive funding from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.