Funding Black founders to fuel global change

Across the globe, Black founders are solving the world’s toughest problems with technology — but they disproportionately lack access to the funding needed to scale. The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund provides cash awards — without giving up equity in return — and hands-on support to help Black entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.

12-minute read

Video meeting of 42 Black founders

Funding Black startups that are changing the future in the US and beyond.

Leveling the playing field to help startups succeed

Economic justice is linked to racial justice. Despite being one of the fastest-growing entrepreneur groups around the world, Black founders received less than 1% of all venture capital globally in 2020.1

Established in 2020, the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund has awarded $16 million toward making a resounding impact to help Black-led startups secure funding, strengthen communities, and create generational change. Drawing from firsthand experience as Black founders, Google for Startups leads, Jewel Burks and André Barrence, ensured that in addition to cash awards, Black Founders Fund recipients receive ongoing Google mentorship and product support to help them navigate every stage of their startup journey.

Google for Startups

Google for Startups is on a mission to foster a global startup community that is inclusive, accessible, and equitable by connecting founders of all backgrounds to the best of Google.

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Jewel Burks, Head of Google for Startups, U.S.

“I had a persistent desire to right a wrong I saw in my own journey. Many investors had not given me a fair shot because of my identity, and I wanted to ensure that other Black entrepreneurs didn’t experience the same obstacles.”

Jewel Burks, Head of Google for Startups, U.S.

André Barrence, Head of Google for Startups, Latin America

“In my experience, not only at Google but as a person of African descent in Brazil who has been working in technology for some time, the pointer that moved the least was for Black entrepreneurs.”

André Barrence, Head of Google for Startups, Latin America

Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups, UK

“If we want to solve the inequities we see around us, we all need to do the work and understand our role in the system, empathize with those who are marginalized, and take action to help.”

Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups, UK

Onajite Emerhor, Head of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa

"I’ve seen firsthand the exceptional innovation and transformative nature of African startups, who with minimal funding, especially for Black-led companies, are solving challenges on a global scale. We need to amplify their work and nurture their talent"

Onajite Emerhor, Head of Google for Startups Accelerator, Africa

Meet some of the 200+ Black Founders Fund recipients who are making an impact in their communities around the world.


Humanizing the hiring process by eliminating recruiter bias

Ariel Lopez, founder of Knac

Attendees at a Knac recruiting event and Ariel Lopez on stage speaking at a recruiting event

As a tech recruiter, Ariel Lopez saw how implicit biases caused great talent from underrepresented backgrounds to be overlooked. On a mission to bring fairness to job searching, Ariel founded Knac , a digital recruiting platform that helps remove bias and increase diversity throughout the hiring process — and also ensure that candidates receive the feedback they need to grow and lead their best lives.

“Recruiters are still using antiquated processes. Lack of diversity and bad candidate experiences are the things we’re trying to fix as a result of that process. We help people not get ghosted.”

Prior to being selected as a Black Founders Fund recipient, Ariel participated in the 2017 Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange, hosted annually in partnership with North Carolina–based startup hub American Underground. To date, Knac has raised half a million dollars and is using the Black Founders Fund award to continue proving that there’s no such thing as a “pipeline problem.”

Meet the other recipients of the Black Founders Fund in the U.S.

Black Founders Exchange

Established in 2016, Black Founders Exchange — hosted by American Underground and Google for Startups — is a curated program providing hands-on training, meaningful connections, and supportive community to help Black-led startups build and grow.

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Simplifying complex legal processes to standardize access to justice

Vinícius Marques, founder of EasyJur

Full EasyJur team in matching t-shirts

In 2016, Vinícius Marques and his family were evicted from their home due to a legal error made by the family’s lawyer. Determined to help others avoid the same heartbreak, he founded EasyJur which uses artificial intelligence to eliminate manual activities and reduce legal errors to make legal proceedings more efficient.

“I’ve suffered a lot of prejudice because I couldn’t be myself. I felt I needed to create my own business and make my own space. The Black Founders Fund gives a voice to many talented entrepreneurs who aren’t usually seen.”

Before receiving the Black Founders Fund award, Vinícius participated in the Google for Startups Accelerator program in Brazil, where he worked one-on-one with Google product experts to identify growth strategies. In just two years, EasyJur expanded to 100 employees and doubled its growth rate, making it one of the largest legal-focused tech startups in Brazil.

Meet the other recipients of the Black Founders Fund in Brazil

Vinícius Marques, founder of EasyJur

Google for Startups Accelerator

Google for Startups Accelerator is a global program of intensive workshops and expert mentorship designed to help growth-stage startups learn technical, product, and leadership best practices.

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Creating safer Afro hair products while employing women in STEM

Rachael Corson & Joycelyn Mate, founders of Afrocenchix

Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate, founders of Afrocenchix

Joycelyn and Rachael first bonded as university students in the UK over a mutual frustration with faulty Afro hair products. They were both wary of supposedly natural shampoos and oils that actually contained harmful chemicals.

“Joycelyn and I suffered from alopecia, hair breakage, eczema, and low confidence. Our endless quest to find the perfect healthy products finally ended when we decided to start creating our own.”

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Determined to build something better, the cofounders started blogging about hair care and created award-winning hair and scalp oils. Following the success of their original products, Afrocenchix became the first Afro hair brand to launch in major UK-based supermarket and drugstore chains. Since receiving the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund award, Afrocenchix used support from Google.org Ad Grants to reach new customers through Google search ads. They’ve also grown their team of experts and raised $1.2 million in seed funding, working to give every person with Afro and curly hair access to safe, effective, natural products they can trust.

To create a more inclusive start-up ecosystem, Rachael Palmer, Head of VC and Startup Partnerships, EMEA, knows we all have to do more and support startups like Afrocenchix. “We have a chance to help build a more equitable future, where successful entrepreneurs come from all backgrounds and their communities can benefit from what they bring.”

Meet the other recipients of the Black Founders Fund in Europe


Reshaping the educational landscape for students across Africa

Chukwuemeka Uche Onuora, founder of HITCH

HITCH team in matching t-shirts

Chukwuemeka Uche Onuora couldn’t find adequate educational support in Nigeria for his son, who is autistic. After facing challenges to access critical resources and therapy for his son, he used his over 15 years of educational technology experience to cofound HITCH and help all students access the educational content they need.

“We’re curating a plethora of content to help parents, teachers, and students. Currently, we’re partnering with one of the top educational publishers in Nigeria to develop curriculum based e-books for 500k students.”

HITCH is an educational technology platform that enhances the learning experience for students with relevant on-demand resources — all powered by machine learning. With the help from the Black Founders Fund, HITCH aims to enhance digital skills for 10,000 teachers and deliver rich educational content to 1 million African students.

Meet the other recipients of the Black Founders Fund in Africa

Meet some of the 2021 founders


Continuing the momentum for Black founders

“I am challenging everyone to think differently about the rules and systems they covet and who those rules and systems are keeping from opportunity.” - Jewel Burks, Head of Google for Startups, U.S.

In the U.S. alone, 78% of recipients reported that the Black Founders Fund award immediately helped grow their revenues, and 56% of recipients reported that their startup went on to raise additional funding after being awarded — amounting to more than $50 million in outside capital2. To date, the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund has awarded over 200 founders across the U.S., Europe, Brazil, and Africa — just one part of Google’s ongoing commitment to foster an inclusive global startup community.

Learn more about the recipients of the 2021 Black Founders Fund

1. INC., US, July 2021
2. Google Internal Data, US, survey of 76 Black Founders Fund recipients, May 2021.

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