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Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

ITV supports Google's Black Founders Fund for a second year

Google for Startups announces new cohort of 40 Black-led tech startups selected for $4 Million Black Founders Fund

  • The 40 selected Black-led startups will receive $100,000 each in non-dilutive cash awards - with more than two thirds (65%) based in the UK

  • The $4mn (£3mn) fund aims to tackle racial inequality in venture capital funding Last year’s Black Founders Fund cohort in Europe has gone on to raise an additional $81million (£65mn) in funding and increase their headcount by 21%

  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan hosts founders as part of London Tech Week celebrations

  • ITV, WPP and Allen & Overy to provide recipients with free advertising opportunities, communications and marketing training and legal support for a second year

Google for Startups announces the 40 Black-led tech startups* receiving grants from its $4 million (approx £3mn) Black Founders Fund across Europe, created to tackle racial inequality in venture capital funding for startups. The announcement follows a series of launch events across Europe, in London, Paris and Berlin, including a gathering hosted by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at City Hall for a group of London-based founders as part of the capital’s London Tech Week celebrations.

The Black Founders Fund was first launched last year with a $2m (£1.5m) fund to help tackle stark racial inequality in venture capital funding - this year’s fund has doubled to $4m (£3m).

Prior to the fund’s launch in 2021, less than 0.25% of venture capital (VC) funding went to Black-led startups in the UK.

The British tech startups make up two thirds of the 40 companies selected across Europe and are set to transform a wide range of sectors including beauty, fashion, fintech, education, construction and food/beverage, with two thirds (26) of the chosen start-ups based in the UK.

Some of the 26 UK-based startups selected include:

  • Josephine Philips, Sojo UK - a sustainable fashion tech startup modernising the clothing repair and tailoring industry.

  • Simi Lindgren, Yuty™ - the AI driven conscious beauty destination.

  • Zak Nason-Giwa, Goodloans - a London-based fintech company, breaking down the barriers to lending In emerging markets with its SaaS-AI digital lending platform.

  • Asha Haji, Framework - the world's first on-demand business school designed for startups.

Each successful startup will be given $100,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, up to $200,000 in cloud credits and ad support, 1:1 mentoring by industry experts and invaluable connections within Google’s network.

The success of last year’s cohort shows the impact that direct and targeted support can have in helping to tackle inequality, by supporting Black founders who are disproportionately locked out of access to capital. Across Europe, founders from the 2021’s programme raised an additional $81 million (£64mn) in follow-on funding and increased their headcount by 21%.

Google for Startups is working with ITV, WPP and Allen & Overy to support Black Founders Fund grant recipients for a second year. Last year, the partners provided free communications and marketing training and legal support**.

Josephine Philips, CEO of sustainable fashion tech startup Sojo, selected for the 2022 fund comments: “I was thrilled to be selected for the Black Founders Fund. Sojo is focused on building the technology to make clothing alterations and repairs mainstream - to receive not only financial support, but mentoring and invaluable networking opportunities from Google will help us to invest in our tech and allow the business to grow. It is great to see Google addressing the funding gap and providing real tangible support for those who are underrepresented in the startup community.”

Elizabeth Nyeko, CEO of Modularity Grid, a deep tech startup selected for the 2021 Black Founders Fund, comments: “Being part of the Black Founders Fund has unlocked huge opportunities for Modularity Grid. Since being selected in June 2021, we have grown from strength to strength. The sense of community and opportunities for mentorship has also been invaluable. Many of the founders selected for the Fund are committed to addressing the world’s most important challenges - from the renewables focus of Modularity Grid to issues in healthcare, education and finance. Fairer funding and better opportunities for these startups is therefore having a real impact, not just on the tech scene but the UK as a whole.”

Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK: “For the second year in a row we've been able to debunk the myth of the “pipeline problem”. The UK is home to a wealth of talent from underrepresented backgrounds – we're so excited to have doubled last year's fund and partner with 40 fantastic companies, of which two thirds are based in the UK, and one third is led by women.”

Rachael Palmer, Head of VC and Startup Partnerships, EMEA, Google, adds: “Last year’s founders have generated significant returns for investors - in some cases more than 10 times the initial investment in less than a year. We’re inviting investors to grasp these opportunities by working with us to support innovative Black-led businesses. Through the Fund, we’re hoping to ignite the change needed across the entire startup ecosystem, deliver more opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs and ultimately change the face of what a successful founder looks like.”

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London celebrates the diversity of its business community and it’s fantastic to see that 60 per cent of the companies selected for Google’s latest Black Founders support programme are from London. Our city is a leading hub for innovation and startups, and our tech sector has an important role to play in creating jobs and investment for the capital’s economy as we build a better London for everyone.”

The Black Founders Fund is just one of the ways that Google is working to help support historically underrepresented groups. In addition to contributing to economic opportunities with this fund and YouTube’s Black Voices Fund, the Black-owned feature on Search and Maps helps people to find and support Black-owned local businesses.

Full list of UK startups selected for the Black Founders Fund 2022:

  • Base Plus (UK): Combining data, machine learning and formulation expertise to create precise and personalised skincare.

  • Bloomful (UK): Delivering a digitally-enabled care pathway for better gynaecological health.

  • Boxx (UK): Combining boxing inspired fitness with smart tech to provide a fun and accessible way to workout.

  • Compare Ethics (UK): A Sustainable Product Intelligence and Compliance platform enabling companies to manage, verify, and confidently communicate responsible product claims at scale.

  • Deep Meta (UK): Predicting production defects in metals.

  • Devo (UK): An end-to-end operating system enabling the digital transformation of convenience stores.

  • Eccobell (UK): An ecosystem of on-demand web applications using contactless technology to innovate how people access, communicate and interact with each other, unrestricted by device.

  • FoodLama (UK): Online grocery shopping with preferences, made easy.

  • Framework (UK): The world’s first on-demand business school, designed exclusively for startups.

  • GigBridge (UK): A recruitment platform for construction companies to find and hire skilled construction workers.

  • Goodloans (UK): AI-powered digital lending platform for emerging markets.

  • Lenkie (UK): Providing the embedded lending infrastructure to enable online platforms to become a source of funding for their business users.

  • Materials Nexus (UK): Accelerating the transition towards net-zero materials.

  • MoonHub (UK): Virtual Reality training platform.

  • Nolea (UK): Solving the healthcare demand-supply mismatch problem with our fractional clinician marketplace platform.

  • Owni (UK): A B2B SaaS company that enables fashion retailers and brands to reap the benefits of resale and the secondary market through a peer-to-peer resale platform

  • Pace Revenue (UK): Providing real-time, automated decision intelligence, and industry leading BI to the hospitality industry.

  • Propelle (UK): A female focused financial investment platform, designed to get women investing more regularly and building wealth.

  • Reach Industries (UK): A platform that leverages computer vision, voice & ML to accelerate life sciences in labs.

  • Ruka (UK): The Ruka vision is to become the definitive hair brand for black women globally, by building an ecosystem of hair solutions which truly work.

  • Sojo (UK): A sustainable fashion tech startup centralising & modernising the clothing repair and tailoring industry.

  • SympliFi (UK): A digital lending platform that facilitates access to credit to underserved micro and SME businesses in developing countries, by making lending borderless.

  • Tinto (UK): A wellbeing app for pregnant and postnatal mothers.

  • TRIM-IT (UK): The UK's first app-powered mobile barbershops.

  • VerifyMyAge (UK): Creates safety tech solutions designed to make the internet safer by solving compliance and safeguarding problems with age assurance, identity authentication and content moderation.

  • Yuty (UK): An AI driven conscious beauty marketplace.

*All applicants were required to have one or more founders that self-identify as Black and the startup must already have a product in the market to be eligible for the fund.

** ITV, WPP and Allen & Overy partnered with Google for Startups to provide support to last year’s grant recipients:

  • ITV gave eligible UK-based startups the opportunity to take part in the network’s industry-leading program which provides £1 million worth of airtime and production in 2022, equity free. TV ready startups - those with backend operations that could meet the demand TV would create - attended bespoke media education workshops to help familiarize them with the world of TV marketing. The founders of these businesses were also offered media planning and pilot spot production sessions to help bring their TV ads to life.

  • WPP provided access to their network of creative agencies across brand strategy, media planning, customer engagement and more. In addition to this series of masterclasses, WPP offered dedicated office-hours with experts across the network, enabling the start-ups to connect to their audiences in meaningful ways.

  • Allen & Overy hosted a specially tailored workshop which took the founders through the legal matters that startups should consider when growing and scaling their businesses, followed by a series of pro bono legal surgeries for the founders.

Contact:

Tom Hodson, ITV Head of Press, Commercial and Online - tom.hodson@itv.com / 07557 494401

About Google for Startups:

Google for Startups is Google’s initiative to help startups thrive across every corner of the world. We bring the best of Google's products, connections, and best practices to enable startups to build something better.

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