July 11, 2022

Google For Startups’ First-Ever Latino Founders Fund: Meet The Recipients

Tanya Menendez and Pamela Martinez, cofounders of Snowball Wealth

The Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund is a $5 million fund that provides promising U.S. Latinx-led startups non-equity cash awards to help fuel their businesses. Google announced the fund last year as part of its $15 million commitment to economic equity for Latinx people in the U.S.

Across the country, 50 founders will each receive $100,000 in cash to help grow their business. They’ll also receive hands-on support from Google employees across the company, $100,000 in Google Cloud credits, and access to therapy to support founders emotionally and professionally.

The goal of the fund is to help Latinx entrepreneurs have equitable access to funding, training, and the support they need to succeed in today’s economy.

Google for Startups Marketing Lead Daniel Navarro said: “Since joining Google almost twelve years ago, it’s been a personal mission of mine to seek new ways for Google to provide access and opportunity to the Latino community. 

“Most recently I’ve been focused on how we can provide this to the Latino startup community, where gaining access to funding — the necessary fuel to grow their companies — is a constant struggle. Latino-led businesses are the fastest-growing segment of US small businesses, but as an aggregate, they only receive 2% of total US venture capital funding  despite comprising 20% ​​of the US population.”

Here are a few of the recipients.

Liyani Rodriguez

Liyani Rodriguez is the co-founder and CEO of Raddle, which helps people feel heard at work through fun, equitable, and engaging conversations while at the same time helping employers engage and retain their teams.

While other video collaboration tools focus on ‘where’ a group meets, Raddle focuses on ‘how’ folks interact and show up in the conversation. Raddle uniquely taps into a team’s collective creative intelligence by creating a space for psychological safety.

Remy Meraz

Remy Meraz is the co-founder and CEO of Zella Life, which aims to democratize coaching for BIPOC professionals by making it easily accessible through an AI-driven platform and an affordable monthly subscription plan.

Zella Life also bridges the diversity gap in workforce development with customized coaching programs to help companies execute DEI goals and develop their workforce at scale.

Kyle Pierce

Kyle Pierce co-founded Options MD, a telemedicine company that tackles the $225 billion whitespace that is severe and treatment-resistant mental illness.

Although 2020 saw an influx of mental health companies, Options MD addresses the patient population other companies overwhelmingly ignore: the over 32M mental health patients that will be deemed “treatment-resistant” by physicians, meaning that they do not respond to 1st line medications.

Through proprietary treatment-matching software, Options MD first helps physicians identify better treatments for these patients and then uses telehealth services to treat patients with personalized and comprehensive care plans.

Tanya Menendez

Tanya Menendez co-founded Snowball Wealth, a community-first platform that helps move women from debt to wealth. Menendez’s vision is to create the Noom for Financial Wellness by creating smaller goals and integrating behavioral economics concepts within an affordable subscription model.

Snowball Wealth serves the growing market of 41% of college-educated Americans carrying an average of $8,000 in monthly credit card debt by building the first, trusted mobile-first community around debt. Snowball Wealth’s community, money challenges, and AI-driven planning and has already created life-changing results for their members.

Menendez is a second-time founder, having previously turned an idea into a company with 7-figure revenue. Snowball Wealth’s co-founder and CTO Pam Martinez is a Stanford University computer science graduate who previously led engineering teams for high-growth edtech companies.

The full list of recipients is available here.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.