Black founders are no anomaly. The creatives who fuel global trends and generate ideas to help revolutionize modern existence are bountiful and their numbers continue to grow. And yet, the funding for these entrepreneurs continues to lag. The latest numbers according to Crunchbase show that Black founders raised $187 million in Q3 of 2022. It’s a startling decline from the nearly $1.1 billion they received in the same period last year. Looking at Q2 of this year, Black founders have seen more than a $400 million drop in funding. Less money poured into these entrepreneurs means less resources for the essential parts of the business that could help these founders flourish.
And that’s where Braze, an American cloud-based software company hopes to be of service. In June of 2020, Braze launched their Tech for Black Founders Program to provide Black founders with 12 months of free access to the company’s comprehensive customer engagement platform—one used around the world by businesses for multichannel marketing. Those behind the initiative say the impetus is simple: the deck is stacked against Black founders and they want to be there to help. This week the company announced that it will start accepting applications for the newest cohort in early 2023.
More than 20 Black-founded startups are currently participating in the program, and leveraging the Braze platform’s technology to accelerate their growth and build successful, sustainable businesses. “At Braze, we believe it’s our responsibility to contribute towards creating an ecosystem that empowers Black-led businesses. Before we can make an impact on the world, we’re first starting by combating inequality in our tech community,” notes a press statement shared with EBONY.
Tech For Black Founders is a joint initiative between Braze, Amplitude, Branch, mParticle, Radar, and others. The shared goal is to help these businesses accelerate growth and scale as rapidly as possible using a best-in-class suite of SaaS products.
Today, a mere 1.2% of U.S. based founders backed by venture capital are Black. Braze believes the only way to radically change that is for the tech community to get involved and help lead the charge. For the the third round of Tech for Black Founders applications, Braze will accept 15 companies. The company says it’s excited to give more Black-founded businesses the opportunity to grow with their platform. But the offerings don’t end there.
Those accepted will receive a free growth package for 12 months, onboarding services to get you up and running, and email costs covered up to 10M emails and two IP addresses, along with other business scaling perks.
“By enabling greater access to tech resources, Braze is committed to promoting diverse industry representation and opportunity,” said Rod McLeod, VP of Social Impact at Braze following the success of the first Tech for Black Founders cohort. “As a technology leader, we will remain accountable for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry and plan to further expand efforts supporting underserved and underrepresented communities in the year ahead.”