Seshie cofounder Kofi Frimpong will join this year’s cohort of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.
Seshie, an alum of Comcast NBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs Accelerator powered by Techstars, is a marketplace of live learning and development workshops for teams. Penn Valley-based Frimpong and cofounder Will Lee launched the company last July after the realization that a demand for virtual programming amid the pandemic wasn’t going away any time soon.
The first iteration of the startup included a mix of virtual experiences like meditation sessions, mixology lessons or casino nights. It now aims to modernize learning and development for companies with a focus on mental health and retention via virtual workshops on everything from parenting, stress and anxiety to working remotely.
Frimpong said he heard about the Google program through a friend who’d been through it. Last year’s cohort included Stimulus founder and CEO Tiffanie Stanard and Switchboard Live cofounder and CEO Rudy Ellis, who each received $50,000 through the program.
This year, a second $5 million investment is being made through the program, with 50 founders receiving up to $100,000 in non-dilutive capital. Seshie will also receive tech support from Google, including Google Cloud credits, ad grants and other support resources.
“I’ve never participated in any Google or Google for Startups program in the past and was super interested in the type of support I could get from such a program,” Frimpong said in a statement. “The funny thing is that we’ve had teams at Google that were customers of ours. Being a part of the program will absolutely open up the doors for us to build a deeper relationship with Google and get more teams there as customers.”
Jewel Burks Solomon, head of Google for Startups U.S., said that the program is excited to contribute funding to Black founders with no strings attached, especially when Black founders received less than 1% of venture capital in 2020.
Google will be working with Goodie Nation, an org focusing on building relationships and advancing founders of color in their businesses. Goodie Nation advisors will be working with the cohort to talk business pain points, introduce them to its network and customers, and provide emotional and professional support.
“We heard loud and clear from the 2020 fund recipients that Google for Startups and Goodie Nation have been crucial to their success not only through funding, but through community, mentorship, network connections and technical expertise,” Solomon said.
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