Google gives 40 black-led UK start-ups share of £3m

Google has announced the names of 40 UK black-led businesses that will receive a share of cash from its Black Founders Fund for 2022.

The tech giant’s start-up arm, Google for Startups, launched the fund in 2021 to help tackle stark racial inequality in venture capital funding. A total of £3m – up from £1.5m last year – will be split between the businesses that have been selected.

Each successful start-up will be given $100,000 (£86,000) in non-dilutive cash awards; up to $200,000 in cloud credits and ad support; one-to-one mentoring by industry experts; and connections within Google’s network.

Across Europe, founders from the 2021’s programme raised an additional $81m (£64m) in follow-on funding and increased their headcount by 21%, Google said.

Josephine Philips, chief executive of sustainable fashion tech start-up Sojo, has been selected for the 2022 fund. She said the mentoring and networking opportunities on offer would be “invaluable” to her firm.

“[It] will help us to invest in our tech and allow the business to grow,” she said. “It is great to see Google addressing the funding gap and providing real tangible support for those who are underrepresented in the start-up community.”

Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK, said: “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.”

A total of 60% of the companies selected for Google’s Black Founders Fund 2022 are from London.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan added: “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.”

Full list of UK start-ups 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 fashiontech 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.

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