Entrepreneur

4 Black-led Austin startups awarded $400,000 in funding from Google



Four Austin startups founded by Black entrepreneurs have gotten a big boost from internet giant Google.


The four startups — Journey Foods, Sandbox Commerce, The Mentor Method, and Tradeblock — have been picked for the second wave of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. The $10 million initiative aims to elevate startups established by Black entrepreneurs.


Last year, Google for Startups gave 76 Black-led startups up to $100,000 in funding. With Google’s second $5 million investment in the U.S. Black Founders Fund, 50 more founders across the country are receiving $100,000 in capital.


Aside from cash, each company gets as much as $120,000 in donated search ads from Google.org and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credits.


Here are details about the four Austin recipients:

  • Journey Foods addresses issues with food science and global supply chains. “The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund is a strong step in increasing the significant discrepancies in funding to many groups of founders, especially founders of color,” founder Riana Lynn says in a Google news release.
  • Sandbox Commerce helps traditional retailers launch mobile apps. “This support from Google for Startups comes at a critical time when brands need a way to optimize for mobile methods. Google’s investment will help Sandbox Commerce democratize access to enterprise-grade mobile shopping experience for traditional retailers,” founder Sterling Smith says. 
  • The Mentor Method is a platform that helps companies keep and develop their diverse talent through mentorship. “The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund will help us scale faster and address the core needs of companies seeking to retain their employees,” founder Janice Omadeke says.
  • Tradeblock is a social marketplace that enables sneaker collectors to get to know fellow collectors and do business with them. “Getting recognized by Google as part of the Black Founders Fund is a game-changer for us. … The funds, relationships, and overall support that Tradeblock is gaining will take us to the next level,” founder Mbiyimoh Ghogomu says.
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