From personal sacrifices to hefty time commitments, entrepreneurs face numerous obstacles when launching startups.
With the help of two Black Google execs, access to capital for Black startups has become a consistent commitment for Google.
The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund was created in 2020 as a forward-looking initiative to grant Black entrepreneurs necessary access to funding for their startups. 2020 marked critical challenges for Black people, which sparked organizations to develop effective strategies and solutions to address systemic hindrances.
AfroTech caught up with Jewel Burks Solomon, head of Google for Startups U.S., and Jeremiah Gordon, general counsel and chief compliance officer for CapitalG, for a conversation regarding plans for the Black Founders Fund.
Burks Solomon clarified how the Black Founders Fund gets dollars to the startups. She emphasized that the funding is non-dilutive.
“We’re not taking any equity from the companies that we support via the Black Founders Fund,” Burks Solomon told the outlet.
“We’ve really been able to make a global impact with this program, giving both cash, mentorship therapy, support, and cloud credits,” Burks Solomon explained.
Google believes the Black Founders Fund has the edge over other funding programs in the evolving market as the number of startups continues to increase. Outside of cash funding, Google acknowledges therapy as a crucial factor in the startup journey and holds a partnership with CWC Coaching & Therapy, a Black woman-owned business. Entrepreneurs will have access to free, world-class therapy sessions.
“We subsidized therapy for all of our founders that are recipients of the Black Founders Fund for up to a year,” Burks Solomon shared.
To find a balance in providing funding, Black venture capital funds also need assistance. Gordon explained to AfroTech, “We’ve got multimillion-dollar commitments as the limited partner in these firms, and these firms then go ahead and invest in founders themselves.” Fund managers are helped with the resources provided by Alphabet, which allocated $100 million to Black-led venture capital firms and organizations that support them.
“I think five to 10 years from now, you’re going to see more and bigger Black-led venture capital firms driven, if only just by the entrepreneurship.” Serena Ventures, Black Tech Nation Ventures, and Collide Capital are a few of the Black-led firms that have received funding.