Entrepreneurial stars

4 Black-led startups in Dallas-Fort Worth gain $400,000 in funding from Google

4 Black-led startups in DFW gain $400,000 in funding from Google

Gigi McDowell - Fêtefully
Gigi McDowell, founder of Fêtefully. Photo courtesy of Google
Fredrick Burns - Safer Management
Fredrick Burns of Safer Management. Photo courtesy of Google
Kedreon Cole - XR Sports Group
Kedreon Cole of XR Sports Group. Photo courtesy of Google
Hakeem James CEO of Customer X.i
Hakeem James, founder of Customer X.i. Photo courtesy of Google
Gigi McDowell - Fêtefully
Fredrick Burns - Safer Management
Kedreon Cole - XR Sports Group
Hakeem James CEO of Customer X.i

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include an additional DFW startup awarded by Google.

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Four Dallas-Fort Worth startups founded by Black entrepreneurs are collectively receiving $400,000 from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.

Each of the four startups — CustomerX.i, Fêtefully, Safer Management, and XR Sports Group — has been awarded $100,000 from the search engine giant’s Black Founders Fund. In all, the Google for Startups program chose 50 startup founders across the U.S. to get a total of $5 million.

Here’s an overview of the four local startups:

  • Dallas-based CustomerX.i is a customer intelligence and marketing automation platform. “Being recognized and backed by Google is monumental for us; it is a signal to our partners of our growing success in the market and the expanded capacity we now have to serve our clients,” founder Hakeem James says in a Google news release.
  • Dallas-based Fêtefully, a virtual wedding and event-planning studio. “The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund will allow Fêtefully to capitalize on recent momentum as everyone becomes more comfortable performing face-to-face tasks and affairs virtually,” GiGi McDowell, founder of Fêtefully, says.
  • Dallas-based Safer Management, a platform that enables schools and organizations to streamline safety and health procedures, and digitally track attendance, viruses, and incident reporting. “This support from Google for Startups comes at a critical time,” founder Fred Burns says, “and will be used to help Safer Management develop new educational technologies using machine learning and artificial intelligence.”
  • Frisco-based XR Sports Group, a platform that hosts digital gaming experiences for pro sports teams, colleges, celebrity influencers, and others. “The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund will accelerate the deployment of our personalized social media platforms for Influencers to address the (ownership) in the creator economy for many underrepresented creators,” XR Sports Group founder Kedreon Cole says.

The four startups are part of the second group of businesses picked for the $10 million Google for Startups initiative. Last year, Google for Startups gave 76 Black-led startups up to $100,000 each in funding. Aside from $100,000 in capital, the startups selected for this year’s contingent are receiving as much as $120,000 in donated search ads from Google.org and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credits.

“The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund embodies our mission of helping underrepresented founders grow their businesses. We are excited to continue the fund and contribute funding to Black founders, with no strings attached,” says Jewel Burks Solomon, head of Google for Startups in the U.S.