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UK tech startups dominate Google’s Black Founders Fund

Black Founders Fund
Image credit: Shutterstock / William Barton

Google has revealed 40 black-led tech startups from Europe that will receive $100,000 (£82,000) investment from its $4m (£3.3m) Black Founders Fund, with 26 of the startups being UK-based.

The Black Founders Fund comes from the tech giant’s Google for Startups initiative that helps founders scale their startups. The fund was created to tackle racial inequality in venture capital funding.

This week the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan held a meet-up for London-based founders, as part of London Tech Week.

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.”

This continues Khan’s crusade to draw tech investment into the capital. Khan last month went on a tour of the US, including Silicon Valley to meet with senior tech executives.

UK startups on the list include fashion tech Sojo UK, artificial intelligence company Yuty, fintech Goodloans and on-demand business school Framework.

Framework’s co-founder Asha Haji featured on UKTN’s Founder in Five series, speaking about scaling up a business.

“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,” said Rachael Palmer, head of VC and startup partnerships, EMEA, Google.

Founders of the 2021 cohort have gone on to raise £64m in further funding according to Google.

Members of the cohort will be allocated $100,000 (£82,000) in non-dilutive cash awards, up to $200,000 in cloud credits and ad support, mentoring as well as access to Google’s connections.

The fund was launched last year with £1.5m funding before this less than 0.25% of venture capital went to black-led startups in the UK according to State of European Tech.

“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,” added Palmer.

Last month saw the UK’s competition watchdog launch an investigation into Google over online ad dominance as well as facing a UK lawsuit over its use of NHS medical data belonging to 1.6 million people in 2015.