And who becomes a founder is changing, too. 88% of the startups in our network have women in leadership positions, 53% have a leader who identifies as LGBTQIA+, and 58% counted at least one Black leader. While these are steps in the right direction, we still have a long way to go to level the playing field for aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. Over 56% of Brazilians self-identify as Black, but one-third of Black entrepreneurs in Brazil report being denied funding. So last year we launched the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund—the first of its kind in Brazil—to not only boost racial diversity in the startup ecosystem but also create economic opportunity for all Brazilians by supporting high-growth, Black-led companies.
The past year also brought unprecedented devastation — and digital transformation — across our country. There have been more than 20 million cases of COVID-19 and over 570,000 deaths in Brazil, and unemployment hit an all-time high in March. Startups from the Campus Sao Paulo community fueled economic recovery by creating 2,000 jobs in 2020, a 33% increase over 2019. “The Google brand helped us forge relationships of trust,” said Lincoln Ando, CEO of idwall, a security tech startup that graduated from Google for Startups Residency and Accelerator programs and raised $38M during the pandemic. “We still have a lot to achieve in Brazil, but we see a big opportunity to take our mission even further.”
Each step forward presents new challenges, but reinventing the day-to-day is what startups do best. While I am incredibly proud of what Google for Startups has accomplished over the past five years, the real privilege is helping founders start, build, and grow the companies that will take Brazil—and the world—into the future.