Kalamazoo startup wins Google grant for app that builds apps

Kalamazoo startup wins Google grant for app that builds apps

GRAND RAPIDS — A Kalamazoo-based artificial intelligence startup is one of three Michigan companies to land $100,000 from Google.

The tech giant earlier this month announced the 50 members of this year's Google for Startups Black Founders Fund cohort. The three-year-old program provides Black-led startups with nonequity cash from Google's independent growth fund, CapitalG.

This year's class includes three Michigan startups: Kalamazoo-based NixCode and Detroit-based Athlytic and Hush.

In addition to the $100,000 grants, Google provides winners with programming and resources, mentorship from technical and business experts, peer support from former recipients and access to free mental health resources and therapy.

Sydney Davis, whose background is in chemical engineering, is the self-taught founder behind NixCode. Her company makes app-development software that helps founders without coding know-how build their products. Her pitch: With NixCode, they can design, validate, launch and scale their mobile apps.

Davis has raised about $250,000 in nonequity funding from pitch competitions. She also recently earned equity funding from the venture capital firms Wintrust, Nueterra and OCA Ventures, though she declined to say how much.

She plans to use the $100,000 from Google to hire marketers and strengthen the AI that powers NixCode.

In addition to the grant, Davis is already benefiting from the program's coaching, mentorship, therapy and peer networking resources.

“Beyond the tangible benefits, being a part of the third cohort and the larger community of fund recipients has been mentally satisfying to have a network of support from those who look like me,” Davis said in a press release.

Hush, one of the Detroit-based winners, is also based on artificial intelligence, which it uses to help families identify online financial, physical and reputation risks. The other, Athlytic, is a marketplace that connects student-athletes with potential name, image and likeness opportunities.



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