Home Feature Four Atlanta Startups Join Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange

Four Atlanta Startups Join Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange

by Maija Ehlinger

Four Atlanta-based startups have been selected for Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange, which will be held virtually from October 7-29 this year.

In partnership with American Underground, the Black Founders Exchange is designed to connect founders and provide hands-on mentorship. To date, companies who have gone through the program have raised over $23 million collectively. 

Ahead of the 2020 meeting, American Underground and Google for Startups conducted a survey about how COVID has impacted Black founders across the country. 

The results of the survey show Black founders continue to miss funding, revenue and mentorship opportunities.

For Tennessee-based MedHaul’s Erica Plybeah, one of the selected companies, Black founders suffer from “lack of access to the appropriate knowledge at the right time. Many times, Black founders can’t progress because they simply don’t know the things they need to do. However, this knowledge is being regularly shared among founders in Silicon Valley and their networks beyond.” 

The four Atlanta startups selected work in diverse industries, tackling problems commonly found on film sets and in the energy sector, as well as those problems found during the job application process and digital organizing. The four companies include: 

  •  ScrapSports: The most comprehensive sports scrapbooking platform.
  • Optimal Solar: Customized energy solutions for utility and commercial clients.
  • Film Connx: The job marketplace for film that connects studios to vetted local crew.
  • Knac: SAAS workforce innovation platform reinventing the job application and using training to refresh the candidate experience.

“As members of Black Founders Exchange, our team is part of a collaborative community of likeminded and incredibly driven founders who are passionate about building and scaling their high growth businesses,” Carolyn Pitt, the founder of Film Connx, told Hypepotamus. “This includes support and resources from Google’s expansive network of subject matter experts and an opportunity to support my peers by cheering their wins and brainstorming about their challenges. BFE is a unique community filled with courageous founders of African descent, and we support and elevate one another without hesitation. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Watch and learn more about Film Connx here.

For Dr. Reginald Parker, founder of Optimal Solar, being selected means he and his team now has “over 100 qualified, Black Founders being technology ventures that I can call on.”

The Exchange has another strong Atlanta connection, as Atlanta-based Jewel Burks Solomon serves as head of Google for Startups across the US. Solomon will also speak and give office hours during this year’s virtual cohort. 

“Over the last four years, the Black Founders Exchange program has seen the alumni achieve inspiring growth and success,” said Solomon. “Going into our 5th year, we knew that doubling down on our support for this group would give us the opportunity to bring the very best of Google’s people and resources to further advance these companies and demonstrate our firm commitment to the Black founder community. American Underground shares this same mission, and we’re proud to partner with them on our 5th annual Black Founders Exchange program.​”

Tennessee-based SecondKeys, who recently won Launch Tennessee’s pitch competition, will also participate.

A full list of other selected companies from across the country can be found here

Congrats to all those selected! 

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