Local black-led tech startups get funding from Google | Black Tones | Chicago News

Two local black-led startups recently received some welcome news.

Events management platform leaders Eventnoire and Buoy Price, a revenue management tool for the vacation rental industry, have each been awarded $100,000 from Google’s Startup Black Founders Fund. The fund is dedicated to promising black tech ventures that have historically had trouble getting capital.

According to a report by Crunchbase, US companies raised nearly $150 billion in venture capital by 2020, but black startup founders received less than 1 percent of that total.

Both startups plan to use part of the funding to bring in additional technology development talent to help them grow.

“It allows us to double the amount of engineering needed to stay relevant. We can’t afford to have our website go down anytime soon,” said Joshua Mercer, chief marketing officer of Eventnoir.

“Frankly, it was very difficult to raise money and all of our competitors are venture-backed – and this company is run by myself and my husband,” said Candice Speaker, co-founder of Buoy Pressing. “This funding will continue our mission of building technology that is most valuable to consumers.”

Mercer says targeted funding for black startups is critical to creating a more equitable tech environment.

“We’re always on the consumer side, not the decision side,” he said. “So there’s a greater need for people who look like you and more imagination and less utility in terms of technology.”

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