Posted on October 8, 2020

Google Gives Black Atlanta Tech Companies $2.35 Million

Leon Stafford, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 6, 2020

Aaron Fender wants people to think about the coffee business more inclusively, and he’s getting a little help from Google to do it.

Fender, a co-founder of Atlanta-based Portrait Coffee, is one of 35 black tech businesses in Georgia that are getting a piece of $2.35 million from Google for Startups, through its Black Founders Fund.

Google for Startups created the fund in June to help African Americans businesses and entrepreneurs as part of its commitment to racial equality.

Fender’s company launched in December with a focus on e-commerce because of the coronavirus, but hopes to soon open a brick-and-mortar store in Atlanta’s West End. He is trying to broaden the image of coffee, which he said is too often portrayed as young and white. {snip}


Google announced the funding on Tuesday, and the money is part of an overall $5 million the company is giving to 76 black tech businesses across the nation. Companies in Atlanta, which is seen by many as the mecca of tech for African Americans, received almost half of the funding.


Jakita and Erich Thomas received $100,000 for their esports business Pharaoh’s Conclave. The couple, a former Atlanta Public Schools math and science teacher and a computer and learning scientist, launched the business in 2016 after they saw few black gamers in a crowd of esports enthusiasts during an HBO “Real Sports with Bryant Gumble” report on the industry.


Since then, they have helped thousands of young Atlantans connect to the industry through educational programs, league competitions and workforce development. The company also has awarded more than $15,000 in scholarships to Black and Latino high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in esports.