Axela, a group of care companies based in the South East of England, has received a cash award from Google’s Black Founders Fund.
The family-run business is one of 30 start-up companies across Europe to receive a share of $2 million (£1.4m) from the tech giant, which set up the fund last October to cement its commitment to racial equality after discovering a lack of diversity in tech being a pipeline problem.
With a background working in some of the world’s largest tech companies, such as Apple and LinkedIn, Nicholas Kelly co-founded Axela alongside his mother in 2006, after seeing the difference dedicated and experienced care can make to an individual’s wellbeing.
Axela is organised across three solution hubs: Axela Care, Respect Care, and Axela Innovations, operating in the UK and across the world with a staff count of 1,200.
The funding comes at a time where latest figures show less than 0.5% of venture capital (VC) funding goes to Black-led start-ups and only 38 black founders have received venture capital funding in the last 10 years.
Nicholas Kelly, co-founder of Axela, said: “I’ve personally experienced the difficulty in securing funding as a Black founder, so I’m really pleased that Axela has been chosen to receive a cash award from Google, alongside many other brilliant businesses.”
Google’s $2 million non-dilutive initiative to provide cash awards of up to $100,000 will allow the chosen start-ups to benefit from the funding without having to exchange equity in their businesses.
The selected businesses will be paired with up to $120,000 in Ads Grant and up to $100,000 in Cloud credits each.
Kelly said: “Ours will go towards supporting and growing our team and the Cloud credits will be used to focus on building out our machine learning capabilities.”
The founders will also receive mentoring with Google experts, leadership training, and will be invited to take part in weekly Founders Standups—designed to help founders to celebrate the highs and navigate challenges with other founders.