Listen to this story
Google recently announced the newest round of the recipients of their initiative focused on supporting Black startup founders and Black investors.
About 50 startups and businesses were announced as winners of the Black Founders Fund. With each business devoted to providing change, the newest list of recipients includes tech venture fund Black Tech Nation Ventures, venture capital firm Collide Capital as well as investment funds Concrete Rose and Heirloom Capital Partners.
Along with investment fund Share Ventures and investment franchise Zeal Capital Partners, Serena Williams’ venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, was also announced as being part of the program. Founded in 2014, the company helps aid starting businesses by giving them a platform to be heard; in March, Serena Ventures made the headlines by announcing that they raised a ground-breaking $111 million in funds for up-and-coming businesses.
“Alison and I are thrilled to partner with Alphabet [Google’s parent company],” said Williams in a statement. “We plan to continue finding amazing founders and companies that improve the lives of everyday people.”
Spearheaded by Jewel Burks Solomon and Jeremiah Gordon, the initiative gives these businesses $100,000 in cash for funding as well as $100,000 in Cloud credits. Support from Google employees, mental health services and business coaching will also be offered to the recipients.
“A historic scarcity of Black investors has contributed to the sparse funding levels among Black founders,” said a representative for the company in their press release. “Black investors are more likely to have Black founders in their networks and more likely to empathize with business models serving Black communities. By supporting Black funders we’re able to increase both our reach and impact.”
In recent years, the amount of money being invested in Black-owned businesses overall has greatly increased. According to a 2021 report by business information site Crunchbase, in just the first half of the year, $1.8 billion went towards supporting Black-owned businesses. The rate is significantly larger than the rate of total support that went to the companies in 2020, already surpassing the $1 billion total in funds that went to Black businesses throughout that year.
During the same year, the U.S. saw a surge in the amount of Black-owned businesses. According to a report by Robert Fairlie from the Department of Economics at the University of California, in late 2021, the amount of Black-owned stores that were still in business increased by 38% from February 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced all of the U.S. into a lockdown.
With the new funds, the chosen businesses will have the opportunity to maintain these higher rates.
“We’ve seen firsthand how this powerful combination of financial support with mentorship, training, mental health coaching and community contributes to helping fuel innovation, wealth generation and equal access to economic opportunity,” said a spokesperson for Google in the press release. “And we will continue to find opportunities to support these incredible Black founders and funders.”