North Texas Entrepreneur Scores Coveted Google Funding for Black and Latino AI‑Powered Companies

Frisco-based Tiffany Ricks, founder and CEO of HacWare, is the only Texas recipient of the 2024 Google for Startups Founders Fund for Black and Latino entrepreneurs. Each of the 20 awardees receives $150,000 in funding and $100,000 in Google Cloud credits.

Tiffany Ricks, the Frisco-based founder and CEO of HacWare, is the only Texas recipient among the 20 awardees in the 2024 Google for Startups Founders Fund for Black and Latino entrepreneurs, Google announced.

HacWare is a Brooklyn, New York-based AI-powered cybersecurity awareness platform designed for lean security teams to combat phishing attacks. It has an office in Dallas, where the company was founded in 2019.

“The financial support from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund will further our mission to make the digital world a safer place,” Ricks said in a statement. “Cybersecurity isn’t just about protecting data, it’s about empowering people. We are committed to helping our customers navigate the online world with confidence and security.”

Lean security emphasizes the need to optimize security practices by focusing on what is most critical to a business while avoiding unnecessary complexity and additional costs.

Google said this year marks the first cohort exclusively composed of AI-focused startups, advancing Google’s commitments to inclusion in AI and helping diverse founders access capital. Each founder will receive $150,000 in non-dilutive cash awards and $100,000 in Google Cloud credits to help grow their businesses.

“The support from Google will help us to expand our team and strengthen channel partnerships with over 3,000 IT solution providers in the North America, EMEA, and APAC markets,” Ricks said.

The founders will also gain access to mental health resources and mentorship from Google experts in AI and sales, according to Google.

The 2024 Black and Latino Founders Fund recipients are using AI to solve important business and societal challenges—from preventing wildfires to diverting fast fashion from landfills to helping millions of community college learners successfully transfer and acquire four-year degrees, the company said.

Maya Kulycky, vice president of strategy and operations at Google Research, emphasized the need for capital to help startups realize their potential with AI. “AI can enable startups to build transformative products and solve complex challenges,” she said in a statement.

Kulycky highlighted Google’s commitment to investing in promising Black and Latino founders leveraging AI technology. She ssaid the company’s efforts are addressing “some of today’s most pressing issues” and expressed inspiration by “the groundbreaking work of these founders and their potential to shape the future of AI.”

Google said it believes that racial equity is linked to economic opportunity.

The company created the Founders Funds to help level the playing field for Black and Latino entrepreneurs who are consistently locked out of access to early capital. Since 2020, Google has deployed more than $50M to Black and Latino founders around the world. These founders have raised over $590 million in follow-on funding.

Rick, the innovative founder and “chief hacker” of HacWare, has been spotlighted in Dallas Innovates for her unique approach to tackling the human element of cybersecurity. In 2019, for example, she noticed companies were most at risk due to human error or an employee’s lack of knowledge. That led to the creation of Mystery, an autonomous application that sets up phishing campaigns to detect who is most in danger of an attack.

Ricks’ impact has also been recognized in the Dallas Innovates Future 50 list, which highlights the region’s most influential innovators and disruptors.

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