Google is looking to fund black-led start-ups in Ireland

16 Mar 2022

Image: © deagreez/Stock.adobe.com

The $4m fund for black founders in Europe will award up to $100,000 to start-ups, along with mentorship and support.

Google is looking for black-led start-ups based in Ireland to apply for its $4m European Black Founders Fund in an effort to tackle inequality in VC funding.

The fund was established in 2020 by the Google for Startups programme to support black founders with necessary funding and support to help their budding businesses thrive.

Future Human

The call, which was initially $2m, was met with high demand after almost 800 people applied for the fund, with Google eventually selecting 30 black-led start-ups across a range of sectors including fintech, healthcare, beauty, gaming and commerce.

These start-ups have since gone on to raise more than $63m in funding collectively.

This year, Google is back with the fund – now with double the value – to see even more black founders and their start-ups succeed in the European ecosystem.

Start-ups that will be selected through the Black Founders Fund will receive up to $100,000 in cash and up to twice that amount in Google Cloud credits. In addition to the funding, the founders will also receive Google mentorship and product support to give their business a push.

“Black founders in Europe disproportionately lack access to the networks and capital needed to grow their businesses,” Google said in its call. “If we want technology to work for everyone, it needs to be built by everyone.”

According to The State of European Tech 2019 report, less than 0.5pc of VC funding goes to black-led start-ups.

This is despite the fact that more than three in four black-led tech start-ups generate revenue, creating an average of 5.4 jobs each, according to The Black Report by Google for Startups based on UK figures.

Established in 2020, the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund finances start-ups without requiring equity in return and provides hands-on support to help black entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.

The fund has awarded more than $16m to date across Europe, Brazil, Africa and the US, to help black founders secure funding and tackle the problem of inequality in the sector.

AudioMob, one of last year’s recipients of the Black Founders Fund, is a UK-based start-up that recently raised $14m in Series A funding for its audio ad technology for mobile games.

Another Black Founders Fund recipient, Kenyan-founded and Berlin-based fintech start-up Kwara, recently landed $4m in seed funding for its software services for credit unions in East Africa.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com