Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Puts $2.35m in Atlanta Startups

Google for Startups announced that of the 76 recipients of its $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund and revealed the 35 Black-owned startup founders in metro Atlanta were the beneficiaries of $2.35 million in non-dilutive cash awards.

“We are committed to helping Black founders who have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and who are disproportionately locked out of access to the funding they need to succeed,” said Atlanta-based Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups US.

“By combining cash awards with Google for Startups mentorship and programming, we hope to help create a more level playing field for these founders, who are building amazing companies and making an impact on their communities.”

With metro Atlanta having the highest number of receipts, the list of Georgia-based Black startups that were awarded includes: Aquagenuity, Brown Toy Box, Clubba (by Usit Inc.), Countalytics, Deepr, Edifius, Film Connx, Goodr, Healthy Hip Hop, Infiltron Software Suite, Jax Rideshare Rentals, Just Add Honey, Knac, Kommute, Laine London, Latched and Hooked Beauty, LVNGbook, Make Music Count, MantisEDU, Mar Dat, Music Tech Works, Musicbuk, Optimal Technology Corporation, Origyn, PBC, Pharaoh’s Conclave, Portrait Coffee, Qoins, SOIL, SPRAISE, Staat, TQIntelligence, TruDiary, U Scope Technologies, Vibe Ride, and WRINKLE FREE DELIVERY.

“The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund will have a considerable impact on the growth of Portrait Coffee,” said Aaron Fender, founder of Portrait Coffee, a specialty coffee company leveraging excellent product and hospitality to reimagine Black representation in the industry.

“This capital and support comes at a critical time, allowing us to hire more team members and purchase additional manufacturing equipment to support our growing business.”

As part of Google’s company-wide racial equality commitments, the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund was announced in June to not only provide Black startups with non-dilutive cash awards but also the best of Google’s technical resources, people, and best practices, through Google for Startups programming.

Even more exciting, Google for Startups tapped Goodie Nation, an Atlanta-based nonprofit, to manage the distribution of the $5 million cash awards for all of the Black Founders Fund recipients across the county.

“We are honored to work with Google for Startups to bring our expertise of providing business connections to accelerate growth, mentoring, peer-accountability, best practice sharing, and a community for founder support,”  said Joey Womack, CEO of Goodie Nation.

As a Black-owned nonprofit organization, Goodie Nation facilitates and accelerates social capital opportunities to help fill the funding gap for diverse founders and social entrepreneurs.

Womack, and his organization, has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Good and Google for Startup since 2014.

“I can’t state enough how having the Google and Google startups brand backing behind you is important. There’s a few parts to this. One is the non-dilutive funding piece. We know that Black-led startups typically receive funding about two venture investment levels lower than where their progress indicates. When they go forward and do receive some funding, maybe in the seed stage or Series A, they’re giving up so much of their company that ultimately if there’s an exit event, they may not make too much money,” Womack said.

He continued, “This funding allows them to not give up any equity while giving them a boast, a little bit of fuel so to speak, to reach their next milestones. It puts them in a really good position when they go to raise other types of equity financing. In Addition, the support that they’re going to see from Google and Goodie Nation, in particular, getting connected to influencers for endorsements and key advisor roles to large companies for partnerships and paid pilots, is going to pay huge dividends down the road.”

Womack believes that this step toward supporting Black startups and proving non-dilutive funding is a game-changer and the beginning to something greater.

“I do believe that this is a huge inflection point for Black entrepreneurship, not only in Atlanta but across the country. I think we’re going to look back five years, 10 years from now and say that this is a point where things started to change. I think it’s going to lead to a movement where we start to pair social capital with non-dilutive financial capital for Black-led and other forms of diverse led startups at the onset. And it’s going to lead some amazing outcomes,” Womack said.

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