EyeGage Selected for Google for Startups Black Founders Fund
LaVonda Brown is one of 50 founders selected for Google for Startups program focused on high potential startups from Black entrepreneurs based in the U.S.
Atlanta, Ga -- September 21, 2021 -- EyeGage, a startup that focuses on increasing the speed and accuracy of drug detection through computer vision analysis of the eye, announced today that it was selected to join the second cohort of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, a $10 million initiative designed for Black founders, who are building great companies yet are often locked out of access to the funding that is critical to their success.
Last year, Google for Startups gave 76 Black-led startups up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding, helping them keep their doors open, pay their employees, and focus on building their businesses. With this second $5 million investment in the U.S. Black Founders Fund, 50 more founders across the United States will receive $100,000 in non-dilutive capital, meaning founders do not give up any ownership in their company in exchange for funding. The fund also includes technical support from tools and teams across Google, including as much as $120,000 in donated search Ads from Google.org and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credits. Last year, founders who received awards went on to raise more than $50M in capital and 80% of recipients used the funding to create jobs.
EyeGage, which is actively developing algorithms using eye images to create non-invasive technology to provide contactless, non-invasive, objective/unbiased, secure, accurate, and quick drug screening results, is one of a select few high potential startups that the Google for Startups team has selected for this year’s nationwide cohort.
“We first heard of the program during a Goodie Nation group session, where Austin Webster of Deepr shared his experience as recipient of the Black Founders Fund in 2020. Since then, Webster has been a mentor and nominated EyeGage for the award this year,” says LaVonda Brown, Founder of EyeGage. “This support from Google for Startups comes at a critical time and will be used as bridge funding in preparation of our $2M Seed Raise that opens next month.”
“The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund embodies our mission of helping underrepresented founders grow their businesses. We are excited to continue the fund and contribute funding to Black founders, with no strings attached. Black founders currently receive less than 1 percent of total VC funding,” says Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups US. “We heard loud and clear from the 2020 fund recipients that Google for Startups and Goodie Nation have been crucial to their success not only through funding, but through community, mentorship, network connections and technical expertise.”
“Our advisors will be working with the founders to discuss business pain points, offer introductions to customers and investors and provide regular therapy sessions and forums to support recipients emotionally and professionally,” says Joey Womack, CEO of Goodie Nation.
The mission of EyeGage is to decrease impaired driving and improve overall road safety by enabling drivers to assess drug and alcohol levels before getting behind the wheel. The EyeGage technology will help individuals and companies prevent fatal accidents by analyzing eyes for drugs and alcohol before operating vehicles and heavy machinery. Operating via a mobile device, EyeGage technology first takes a picture and video of your eyes, classifies features such as the pupil and iris, and then computes its measurements. Once complete, the system identifies any drugs and alcohol in your system. A report for documentation is additionally available for reporting through the application. When compared to alternatives, the EyeGage technology key differentiator is not requiring a clinical lab to analyze data, and is self-administrable.
The EyeGage technology seeks to shift current drug screening solutions by introducing a new method that uses computer vision to analyze characteristics of the eye. EyeGage employs AI recognition and analysis algorithms that can be deployed on any mobile device or computing apparatus with an embedded camera. Ultimately, the EyeGage drug screening technology will help prevent fatal accidents, make our communities safer, and save lives.
About Google for Startups
Google for Startups works to level the playing field for startup founders and communities to succeed by bringing the best of Google’s products, connections, and best practices to startups. Paired with a deep commitment to create diverse startup communities, many of our offerings are designed specifically to provide underrepresented founders with access to resources and opportunities. We support startups everywhere to build something better. Because when startups succeed, we all succeed.