Thirty Black Founders in the United States to Watch in 2021

Jason A. Scott
4 min readAug 8, 2020


Next week, we kick off the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders supporting twelve incredible entrepreneurs and their companies over the next three months with the best of Google’s people, programs, and products.

These founders represent only 1% of the ~1,000 highly qualified applicants to the Accelerator program, each solving major challenges through entrepreneurship.

As the program kicks off on August 10th, it is not only important for me to support these twelve talented entrepreneurs, but also to highlight many more of the amazing founders of color that I encountered throughout this launch — all doing impressive work and growing profitable, successful businesses.

While I wish I could showcase them all, here are 18 additional black-led early-stage startups that caught my attention and that everyone should be on the lookout for in 2021: | Bethesda, Maryland

Founder: Kofi Kankam is a sequenced guide of self-paced, step-by-step admissions guidance tools including: checklists, expert-driven videos, quizzes, essay templates, and more.

Civic Eagle | Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Founder: Damola Ogundipe

Civic Eagle is a B2B SaaS solution providing legislative intelligence, collaboration and a strategic edge to organizations and companies engaged in lobbying and government policy work.

COI Energy | Tampa, Florida

Founder: SaLisa Berrien

COI Energy offers an energy capacity trading platform that drives building efficiency, protects the electric grid, reduces carbon footprint, and helps the underserved achieve energy independence by optimizing energy resources.

Fêtefully | Dallas, Texas

Founder: GiGi McDowell

Fêtefully is an AI powered wedding & event planner that makes a luxury service accessible to an underserved market while enabling professional planners to make money in their spare time.

Gerald | New York, New York

Founder: Ola Okeshola

Gerald supports life events engagement & cross sell AI for insurance companies.

Grant Source | Houston, Texas

Founder: Allen Thornton

Grant Source is a Grant Funding System that helps organizations find funding for their Mission.

Innovare | Chicago, Illinois

Founders: Nick Freeman

Innovare is an all-in-one data, strategy, and project management tool that empowers education, non-profit, and social impact leaders to support students and communities.

Laundris | Austin, Texas

Founder: Don Ward

Laundris helps customers reduce labor & supply costs through a digital inventory and asset management platform.

Muju AI | Atlanta, Georgia

Founder: Jon Gosier

Muju A.I. offers a content ID system that improves the way music is licensed for TV and Film, tracked, and monetized.

MYAVANA | Atlanta, Georgia

Founder: Candace Mitchell

Myavana is a mobile app that uses AI/ML to make personalized hair product recommendations for your unique hair type, texture, and condition.

Nice Healthcare | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Founder: Thompson Aderinkomi

Nice Healthcare is a full stack, technology enabled, in-home primary care clinic.

Optimal Tech | Atlanta, Georgia

Founder: Reginald Parker

Optimal Tech provides hardware and software services to lower customer utility bills.

Possip | Nashville, Tennessee

Founder: Shani Dowell

Possip uses SMS and web-based pulse checks to strengthen organizations with diverse and dispersed people at the front lines, starting with schools and districts.

REUP | Los Angeles, California

Founder: William Lewis

REUP builds authentication tech that enables resales of luxury goods — starting with watches and jewelry.

Rheaply | Chicago, Illinois

Founder: Garry Cooper

Rheaply supports a category called an Asset Exchange Manager (AxM) — an asset/inventory management system that functions like a marketplace.

Varuna | Chicago, Illinois

Founder: Seyi Fabode

Varuna is an IoT and AI-Powered dashboard that helps water systems efficiently deliver clean water.

Wisy | San Francisco, California

Founder: Nelida Gomez

Wisy facilitates remote coordination and automation with AI for field sales.

Zirtue | Dallas, Texas

Founder: Dennis Cail

Zirtue is a relationship-based social lending app that simplifies loans between friends, family and trusted relationships with automatic loan payments.

I am continuously in awe of the accomplishments of these and the many other black entrepreneurs that I’ve encountered in my role supporting founders; and, I’m continuously in shock that these entrepreneurs remain an incredibly under-tapped opportunity for investors.

Last week, an old classmate sent me an article by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern about access to capital for black-owned businesses.

My tl;dr as to what financial institutions and investors can do to support black entrepreneurs is for them to take the initiative to check out these and other black founders, learn about their companies, and reach out to set up a conversation.

(I’ve included a few LinkedIn profiles to make it easy for you to get started!)

Stealing from a panel conversation that I’m hosting later this month for the Stanford alumni network:

“Limited access to capital, minimal opportunities for exposure, and a lack of representation remain the reality for the Black entrepreneurial community.

If the world is serious in its desire to support the Black community as a whole, the journey starts with investing in Black-owned businesses and creating access to capital for Black entrepreneurs.”

Jason Scott currently serves as the Head of Startup Developer Ecosystems, US — managing Google’s regional Accelerators and startup developer engagement programs across the United States.



Jason A. Scott

@MIT | @StanfordGSB | professional hype man | currently supporting talented founders @Google | ✊🏾🏳️‍🌈