- The Black Founders Fund, a seed capital fund for startups led by black entrepreneurs, selects eight new firms in Brazil;
- The initiative also takes place in the United States and Europe;
- The fund, which is expected to invest BRL 5 million in Brazilian companies by the end of this year, does not involve equity interest;
- Registration is open during the entire period of the program, which started in September 2020 and is expected to last 18 months;
- Entrepreneurs seeking a seed round, with tech business in operation and product launched with users and possible customers, are eligible.
Google for Startups Brazil announced this week eight new startups that will receive investments from the Black Founders Fund, a fund backed by the tech giant aimed at companies founded and led by black entrepreneurs in the country.
Launched in September 2020 and expected to last 18 months, the fund has an initial value of BRL 5 million and seeks to invest in about 30 companies in search of seed capital until the end of this year. So far, the initiative has selected 17 startups.
“There is a gap in the funding market where black entrepreneurs face much greater hurdles in accessing capital than non-black entrepreneurs,” André Barrence, Head of Google for Startups Latin America, tells LABS.
“This shows up when we talk to these entrepreneurs and when we look at the Google for Startups Campus São Paulo community itself, where we have nine times as many registered startup founders who self-declare white than black, while we don’t have a single registered investor who self-declares black.”
Among the sectors of the newly-selected startups, there are businesses focused on the black community itself, such as the healthtech firm AfroSaúde, the tourism platform Diáspora.Black and the edtech firm Prol Educa. Legaltech and proptech startups, such as Certdox and UnicaInstancia, in addition to Gestar, Inventivos and Trakto complete the list.
Geographic diversity was also a factor considered in the selection: among the eight, four startups come from states in the Northeast region, which have seen their innovation clusters grow in recent years: AfroSaúde e Inventivos, from Bahia; Prol Educa, from Pernambuco; and Trakto, from Alagoas.
“It is a great opportunity to show how the Northeast, especially Salvador, has stood out on the national scene with innovative ventures, especially those focused on healthtech, a market that has proved to be strategic in fighting the inequalities evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Igor Leo Rocha, co-founder and CSO at AfroSaúde. “Google‘s contribution, as it is a tech giant, also allows us to enter the radar of other major investors.”
For Vinicius Marques, founder and CEO of the legaltech firm EasyJur, one of those selected by the fund at the end of last year, initiatives such as the Black Founders Fund help to “disseminate the plurality of culture, gender and race translated into results.”
“Several black entrepreneurs like me, who are transforming the lives of thousands of people, now have Google‘s support, gaining voice and visibility around the world. This is very inspiring and rewarding, it is an essential movement to end the racial bias that is often veiled in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says the executive.
Startups selected by the initiative will also receive credits on Google products and will have a network of mentors to connect with. Companies may also be selected to participate in Google for Startups programs in Brazil.