After 10 years of working with early-stage founders at Google for Startups, I’ve seen time and time again how access activates potential. Access to capital is the fuel that makes startups go, access to community keeps them running, and access to mentorship helps them navigate the road to success.
But access to the resources needed to grow one’s business are still not evenly distributed. Despite being the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., only 3% of Latino-owned companies ever reach $1 million in revenue. As part of our commitment to support the Latino founder community, today we’re announcing a new partnership with Visible Hands, a Boston-based venture capital firm dedicated to investing in the potential of underrepresented founders.
During last year’s Google for Startups Founders Academy, I met Luis Suarez, a founder and fellow Chicagoan whose startup, Sanarai, addresses the massive gap in Spanish- speaking mental health providers in the U.S. Sanarai connects Latinos to therapists in Latin American countries for virtual sessions in their native language. When I asked Luis about the most helpful programs he had participated in, he highly recommended Visible Hands. The program gave Luis the opportunity to work alongside a community of diverse founders to grow his startup and have also helped him craft his early fundraising strategy. Visible Hands also supplies stipends to their participants, helping founders who might otherwise not be able to take the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.
Inspired by feedback from founders like Luis, Google for Startups is partnering with Visible Hands to run a 20-week fellowship program, VHLX, to better support the next wave of early-stage Latino founders across the U.S. and to create greater economic opportunity for the Latino community. In addition to hands-on support from Google and industry experts, we are providing $10,000 in cash for every VHLX participant to help kickstart their ideas. Following the program, founders will have the opportunity to receive additional investment from Visible Hands, up to $150,000.
Our work with Visible Hands and our recent partnership with eMerge Americas is part of a $7 million commitment to increase representation and support of the Latino startup community. I’m also looking forward to the Google for Startups Latino Leaders Summit in Miami this June, where in partnership with Inicio Ventures we’re bringing together around 30 top community leaders and investors from across the country to discuss how we can collectively support Latino founders in ways that will truly make a difference. And soon, we’ll share the recipients Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund.
If you or someone you know would be a great fit for VHLX, encourage them to apply by June 24.