Google announces 50 recipients of second Black Founders Fund

A range of companies participated, including ones focused on solving homelessness, improving the court system and helping the elderly.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

Google for Startups announced the next 50 recipients of its second Black Founders Fund in the US on Tuesday, unveiling a slate of innovators who will be receiving $100,000 in non-dilutive funding.

The recipients hail from all across the country, with 14 from Georgia, 10 from Texas, eight from New York, three from Alabama and California, two from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, as well as one each from Florida, Hawaii, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Washington DC.

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund was created last year as a way to help Black entrepreneurs financially. 

For the second round, recipients will get technical support from tools and teams across Google as well as up to $120,000 in donated Ads from Google.org and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credits.

The startups are all tackling major societal issues ranging from healthcare to homelessness. 

India Hayes created Mini City, a cost-saving technology solution for municipalities, homeless providers and homeless citizens who need legal forms of identification to unlock housing, medical, educational and assistive benefits.

"The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund will help support compassionate tech like Mini City. The support will be used to expand our current platform to not only apply for legal forms of identification, but additional life-critical benefits from medical, financial, enterprise and municipal entities," Hayes said of her Atlanta-based company. 

"We have already begun the process with the release of our All Benefits feature and look to make vital hires in development and strategy to support the work we do."

JT Lidell will be using Google's funding to help bolster his Atlanta-based startup Promenade, which offers military veterans access to resources that aid veterans' transition into their post-military lives.

Lidell said The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund would significantly accelerate his work in improving the social determinants of health in the veteran community, with a specific emphasis on black veterans. He plans to hire more staff, refine the platform's technology stack roadmap and more. 


Some of the startup founders. 


Theo Harvey, CEO and founder of Alabama-based digital healthcare startup SynsorMed, said the funding came at a crucial time as the company tries to expand to serve an often-forgotten population segment. 

Harvey noted that his work is focused on a large elderly population and said he knew applying to Google for Startups would be extremely helpful as he hires key employees, expands into new markets and builds brand recognition.

JusticeText is another innovative idea getting support from Google. Created by Leslie Jones-Dove and Devshi Mehrotra in Honolulu, the tool creates interactive and searchable transcripts of video and audio evidence in order to produce fairer criminal justice outcomes and expedite the review of crucial discoveries.

Last year, Google for Startups gave 76 Black-led startups up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding -- meaning founders do not give up any ownership in their company in exchange for funding -- and pledged another $5 million this year.

In a blog post for Google earlier this year, Goodie Nation CEO Joey Womack said the program was a massive success within just six months of its creation. 

Of the 76 startups, 82% used the awards to hire new employees, and 81% reported that these awards directly helped their ability to accelerate conversations with investors. Founders reported that they went on to raise $38 million+ post-award, and 78% of recipients report the fund has immediately helped grow their revenues.

"I've always felt that if we could fill the relationship and financial gaps that exist for entrepreneurs of color, we could not only bring about great businesses but also catalyze job creation and wealth generation for entire communities," Womack said. "The work doesn't stop here. Google will continue to invest in the Black Founders Fund abroad in Brazil, Europe, and more locations soon to be announced."

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