With ethnic minority-led businesses lacking in numbers and with limited access to funding, networking and other business resources, supporting their financial growth is essential. Google for Startups, launched by the multinational tech company in 2011, has put its money where its mouth is and announced that 40 black-led tech startups that will receive grants from its $4 million Black Founders Fund across Europe, with UK firms well represented.
The UK-based startups make up two-thirds (26) of the 40 companies selected from across Europe and come from a wide range of sectors including beauty, fashion, financial technology, education, construction and food/beverage. Further good news for participating startups is that fund has doubled to $4m (£3m).
This year, each selected startup will receive $100,000 in non-dilutive cash, up to $200,000 in cloud credits and advertising support, one-on-one mentoring from industry experts, and will further benefit from connections within the Google network.
Prior to the Black Founders Fund’s launch in 2021, which was set up to address the glaring inequalities around the lack of access to VC funding for Black business founders, less than 0.25% of venture capital funding was allocated to Black-led start-ups in the UK.
The success of last year’s cohort shows the impact that targeted support can have in tackling inequality and supporting Black founders who disproportionately lack access to capital. Across Europe, the 2021 founders raised an additional $81 million (£64 million) in follow-on funding and increased their membership by 21%.
The Black Founders Fund is just one of the ways that Google is helping historically underrepresented groups. In addition to contributing to economic opportunities through this fund and YouTube’s Black Voices Fund, the Black-owned feature on Search and Maps helps people find and support local Black-owned businesses.
Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK said: “For the second year in a row, we were able to debunk the myth of the ‘pipeline problem’. The UK is home to a wealth of talent from under-represented backgrounds – we’re delighted to have doubled last year’s fund and to be partnering with 40 fantastic companies, two-thirds of which are UK-based and one-third of which are led by women”.
Rachael Palmer, Head of Venture Capital and Startup Partnerships, EMEA, Google, added: “Last year’s founders generated significant returns for investors – in some cases more than 10 times the initial investment in less than a year. We invite investors to take advantage of these opportunities by working with us to support innovative black-owned businesses. Through this fund, we hope to spark the necessary change in the startup ecosystem, provide more opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs and ultimately change the face of what it means to be a successful founder”.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, “London celebrates the diversity of its business community and it’s fantastic to see that 60% of the companies selected for Google’s latest Black Founder Support Programme are from London. Our city is a leading centre for innovation and startups, and our tech sector has an important role to play in creating jobs and investment for the capital’s economy as we build a better London for everyone.”
Josephine Philips, CEO of sustainable fashion tech startup Sojo, selected for the 2022 fund said: “I was delighted to be selected for the Black Founders Fund. Sojo is focused on developing technology to enable widespread alteration and repair of clothing. Receiving not only financial support but also mentoring and valuable networking opportunities from Google will help us invest in our technology and enable the company to grow. It’s great to see Google tackling the funding gap and providing practical support to those who lack it”.
Here’s the full list of entrepreneurs selected by Google for Startups Fund 2022:
· Base Plus (UK): Combining data, machine learning and formulation expertise to create precise and personalised skincare.
· Bloomful (UK): Delivering a digitally-enabled care pathway for better gynaecological health.
· Boxx (UK): Combining boxing-inspired fitness with smart tech to provide a fun and accessible way to work out.
· Compare Ethics (UK): A Sustainable Product Intelligence and Compliance platform enabling companies to manage, verify, and confidently communicate responsible product claims at scale.
· Deep Meta (UK): Predicting production defects in metals.
· Devo (UK): An end-to-end operating system enabling the digital transformation of convenience stores.
· Eccobell (UK): An ecosystem of on-demand web applications using contactless technology to innovate how people access, communicate and interact with each other, unrestricted.
· FoodLama (UK): Online grocery shopping with preferences, made easy.
· Framework (UK): The world’s first on-demand business school, designed exclusively for startups.
· GigBridge (UK): A recruitment platform for construction companies to find and hire skilled construction workers.
· Goodloans (UK): AI-powered digital lending platform for emerging markets.
· Lenkie (UK): Providing the embedded lending infrastructure to enable online platforms to become a source of funding for their business users.
· Materials Nexus (UK): Accelerating the transition towards net-zero materials.
· MoonHub (UK): Virtual Reality training platform.
· Nolea (UK): Solving the healthcare demand-supply mismatch problem with our fractional clinician marketplace platform.
· Owni (UK): A B2B SaaS company that enables fashion retailers and brands to reap the benefits of resale and the secondary market through a peer-to-peer resale platform
· Pace Revenue (UK): Providing real-time, automated decision intelligence, and industry-leading BI to the hospitality industry.
· Propelle (UK): A female-focused financial investment platform, designed to get women investing more regularly and building wealth.
· Reach Industries (UK): A platform that leverages computer vision, voice & ML to accelerate life sciences in labs.
· Ruka (UK): The Ruka vision is to become the definitive hair brand for black women globally, by building an ecosystem of hair solutions which truly work.
· Sojo (UK): A sustainable fashion tech startup centralising & modernising the clothing repair and tailoring industry.
· SympliFi (UK): A digital lending platform that facilitates access to credit to underserved micro and SME businesses in developing countries, by making lending borderless.
· Tinto (UK): A wellbeing app for pregnant and postnatal mothers.
· TRIM-IT (UK): The UK’s first app-powered mobile barbershops.
· VerifyMyAge (UK): Creates safety tech solutions designed to make the internet safer by solving compliance and safeguarding problems with age assurance, identity authentication and content moderation.
· Yuty (UK): An AI-driven conscious beauty marketplace.
In this article, you learned that:
- The 40 selected Black-led startups will receive $100,000 each in non-dilutive cash awards – with more than two-thirds (65%) of the firms based in the UK.
- The $4mn (£3mn) fund aims to tackle racial inequality in venture capital funding.
- Last year’s Black Founders Fund cohort in Europe has gone on to raise an additional $81million (£65mn) in funding and increase their headcount by 21%.