08-14-2018  5:58 pm      •     
The American Underground, a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub, has been deemed “the startup capital of the South.” (Photo courtesy of American Underground)
American Underground
Published: 18 July 2018

The American Underground startup campus in Durham will once again host Black founders from around the nation, Sept. 23-28, as part of the Google For Entrepreneurs (GFE) Exchange series. The GFE Exchange is a week­long immersion program that bridges the gap between startups, experts, and new markets. The focus of the American Underground’s Exchange programming is to address documented funding gaps, by empowering Black founders with tools and resources to help them access capital and grow.

The 2018 group of startups will join a diverse group of company founders who participated in past years.

Participating teams will receive intensive mentoring, and a behind-the-scenes view of the approach venture capitalists take in vetting prospective companies, so they are prepared to raise a round of capital. Training will also be provided around overcoming racial bias in the fundraising process. The program ends with a pitch event before dozens of venture capitalists and corporate CEOs from up and down the East Coast. The goal of the program is for at least half of the startups to be funded within nine months.

“American Underground is committed to being the most diverse tech hub in the country,” says Doug Speight, executive director, American Underground. “Given the rich legacy of Black entrepreneurship in Durham, mentors and investors from across the nation coalesce to provide founders of color the wise counsel, connections and energy to grow and scale their companies.”

The deadline to apply is August 6 and teams will be announced within two weeks. Teams can apply here: blackfounders.com

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