Edlyft Selected for Google for Startups Black Founders Fund

July 13, 2023

Edlyft Chosen for Google for Startups Black Founders Fund
Caitlin McQuade
Caitlin McQuade is a content writer and strategist at Edlyft.

Today, Edlyft, the platform enabling companies like Netflix and Tinder to train and engage their emerging talent before their first day on the job, announced that it has been selected for the prestigious Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. 

‍The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund has awarded Edlyft with $150,000 in non-dilutive cash and access to hands-on support to further accelerate its growth and innovation. Edlyft joins the Fund’s fourth cohort of just 23 startups, selected from applicants from across the country.

Edlyft is thrilled to expand its relationship with Google, having previously supported Google by providing a peer teaching assistant system for Tech Exchange, a prestigious program for college students studying computer science at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).

Arnelle Ansong and Erika Hairston founded Edlyft in 2020 during YCombinator, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea came from their own experiences as Black women computer science students at Stanford and Yale. Both women nearly decided against pursuing jobs in the tech field, due to lack of support and social barriers.

As students at top universities, they acknowledged the privilege they had to ultimately create their own communities and find resources. But there was still a massive gap to close. They set out to create a company that could equip more students—from a diverse range of backgrounds—to succeed in tech.

After working with over 3,000 students across the country in computer science, Erika and Arnelle came to uniquely understand the gap between what students learn in school and what they need to know to be effective in the job. This gap was especially significant in newly remote workplaces, which posed unique challenges for junior talent. 

This led to the development of Edlyft’s pre-onboarding software, which converts insights and communications from engineering managers and internship program managers into customized, interactive training modules for junior talent to learn from before they start. 

During a pilot run, over ¾ of Netflix’s SWE interns opted into the software to get up-to-speed on Netflix’s tech stack, their team, and company culture before their first day on the job. An astounding 95% of the participants reported that they felt more confident and prepared for their internship after completing the software’s modules.

Today, Edlyft is a leader in the emerging talent space, partnering with major companies like Google, Netflix, LinkedIn, DropBox, Coinbase, and more to train the next generation of tech talent—helping them be confident and productive on day one of the job. The company is also continuing its tradition of providing academic support to CS students from historically underrepresented groups, by working with programs like Google’s Tech Exchange and Reboot Representation.

"We are extremely proud to be supporting the work done by Edlyft with the 2023 Google for Startups Black Founders Fund," said Daniel Navarro, Google for Startups Marketing Lead. "Edlyft's mission to engage college students with computer science stood out amongst applicants and we are looking forward to helping them continue making an impact in the industry."

Edlyft’s selection for the Black Founders Fund is an exciting opportunity to continue momentum.

“We’re so excited to work with a growth partner that values our mission to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in tech through early talent development. Our inclusion in the Fund will allow us to accelerate growth, incorporate AI into our software, and to continue to support emerging talent leaders and companies excited to scale their early talent training efforts in an equitable way,” said Erika Hairston.

“We also plan to use our new resources to expand our successful offerings, such as Edlyft’s pre-onboarding software. The mass tech layoffs of the past year have put a massive strain on the capacity of emerging talent recruiters and program managers. This, in turn, impacts the next generation of tech talent, who are often the largest pipelines of diversity into companies. With our new focus and resources from Google, Edlyft is excited to use this opportunity to equip emerging talent leaders at the time when they need us most to ensure the success of our next generation.”

If you work for an organization looking to develop or scale its early talent program or get a boost with pre-start comms, Edlyft is here to help. Schedule an intro call here.

‍About Edlyft

Edlyft is closing the last-mile skills training gap by building software for top companies to engage and train their junior workforce before their first day on the job. Keep up with Edlyft’s progress and achievements here:




‍For Computer Science Students:
Applications are now open for Edlyft’s newest offering: academic support for Black, Latinx, and Native women in their computer science courses this fall, conveniently provided online. We'll support you in classes like data structures, discrete math, and even provide technical interview prep. You'll get weekly guidance from a peer mentor, group sessions, networking opportunities, and more. Application deadline is July 30. Learn more and apply here.

‍About the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund
The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund
provides $150,000 in cash awards, up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credit, and hands-on support—including sales training, investor prep, mental health therapy, and community offerings—to help Black entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.

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