Google Picks DFW-Based Kanarys and ShearShare for Inaugural Startups Accelerator

Google has announced a new accelerator program that's part of a $175 million initiative to support economic opportunities for Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers, and developers.

Two startups from Dallas-Fort Worth will join 10 other Black-led startups from around the country for the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders. Dallas-based Kanarys and McKinney-based Shearshare were selected to participate out of hundreds of applicants, according to Jewel Burks Solomon, head of Google for Startups in the U.S.

The new three-month virtual program is part of Google’s initiative to invest in support for Black businesses. The media giant said it will invest $175 million towards economic opportunity for Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers, and developers. The accelerator, which kicks off this month, is the first in a series of Google for Startups Accelerators focused on underrepresented founders.

The 12 startups that made the cut for Google’s first U.S. based accelerator program for Black-led startups will tackle technical and commercial development-related challenges with the help of Google’s experts.  

Dallas-area startups Kanarys and Shearshare

Mandy Price, founder of Kanarys [Photo Courtesy Mandy Price]

Kanarys, founded in April 2018, offers a tech platform for employers and employees to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. The platform works via anonymized and amassed data to determine the level of employee satisfaction with a company’s culture so directors can track figures and make decisions based on collected data and surveys.  

“Dallas has a growing startup scene that’s full of promising companies.” Jason Scott, Google’s Head of Startup Developer Ecosystem in the U.S., told Dallas Innovates. “Founder Mandy Price is a true innovator, and we’re proud to have her as a member of the first Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders cohort.” 

Scott said Dallas-based Kanarys “is a prime example of how we should think about using advancing technologies, like AI, to solve an old problem: diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace,”

Dr. Tye & Courtney Caldwell, founders of ShearShare. [Photo Courtesy ShearShare]

ShearShare is the first mobile marketplace for stylists to manage and grow their small business on their terms, starting with space to work. The DFW-headquartered “BeautyTech” startup connects solopreneur barbers and cosmetologists with studios renting salon space. 

Scott said Google has known ShearShare’s founders, Courtney and Dr. Tye Caldwell, since they competed in a Google for Startups Demo Day in 2018. He says they “continue to be impressed” with the pair’s entrepreneurial spirit.

“We love that they are fostering a spirit of innovation in McKinney and creating economic opportunity around the world,” Scott says. 

Google for Startups Black Founders Fund and more

Along with the accelerator, Google announced the creation of a $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. The new fund will provide cash awards up to $100,000 to selected startups from Google’s U.S. programs and partner communities. According to the company, the cash awards will go to startups with Black founders who have been “deeply impacted by COVID-19 and who are disproportionately locked out of access to capital.”

In addition, the company says it has seen a surge in searches for Black-owned businesses nationally as people “look for ways to support the Black community,” Solomon said. In order to help people identify the local businesses they want to support, she said Google is partnering with the U.S. Black Chambers to launch a Black-owned business attribute on Google Search and Maps. Starting in July, merchants in the U.S. with a verified Business Profile on Google gained the ability to add a Black-owned business attribute to their profile.

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