Rochester startup to receive $100K grant from Google’s Give Black campaign


MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – MAY 4: Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California is shown in this photo on May 4, 2004. Google Inc., the world’s No. 1 Web search provider, filed with U.S. regulators on April 29, 2004 to become a publicly listed company and sell as much as $2.7 billion in stock in a widely expected initial public offering. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester startup company was selected as one of 50 companies to receive a $100,000 grant from Google’s Give Black campaign.

The company, Sign-Speak, will receive a non-dilutive $100,000 cash grant as well as technical and business mentorship. It’s part of Google’s second Black Founders Fund awards, which overall is contributing $5 million to Black-owned businesses nationwide.

Sign-Speak, founder by Yamillet Payano, is a company that empowers deaf and hard of hearing communities to interact more freely in a hearing world. According to Google, their software recognizes Sign Language and translates it into the spoken word, and vice versa using Machine Learning, enabling businesses everywhere to more effectively communicate with Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients and employees.

Among the 50 companies selected, eight were in New York, but Sign-Speak is the only Upstate business receiving the grant as the other seven are located in New York City.

“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 non-dilutive funding to Black founders, who currently receive less than 1 percent of total VC funding,” said 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.”

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