Twende: Rethinking Entrepreneurship is a production of the EC that’s all about engaging in open and honest conversations with incredible Black and Latinx business experts, investors, and founders. Twende is Kiswahili for “let’s go!” It’s our rally cry here at the EC and represents the vibrant passion to level the playing field for entrepreneurs of color. Join us in Episode 4 where we learn from Jason Scott, head of startup developer ecosystems at Google and partner of the ANIM fund.
The child of a military family, Jason’s home base changed every two years, but always to warm and sunny locations. Despite this inconsistency, he still considers southern staples to be his home, and visits to his mom in Atlanta were an escape back to southern roots. As a kid, Jason always had an infatuation with superheroes and their ability to make change; and this contributed to his solution-oriented mind growing up. In elementary school, Jason recalls being a part of a program entitled “Invent America,” where every year the students would be challenged to invent something new. Jason discussed how he always had trouble inventing something entirely new, but was glad to assist the other kids in helping to scale their ideas. In this way, he has always had a “best supporting actor” entrepreneurial mindset.
Discovering a Unique Entrepreneurial Path
Jason began his undergrad at MIT as a pre-med student and spent a summer working at a hospital during his college years. It was during this time that he realized just how much an environment can impact one’s happiness. Following this realization, Jason left the pre-med path and dabbled in consulting before he landed in San Francisco working with startups. Working in venture capital led Jason to Google for Startups, where he still works to this day as the head developer.
Working in institutional venture capital, Scott recognized the proximity-based nature of this work environment. He teasingly recalled the “lazy” mentality of those only wanting to help founders right next to them, which leads to others having a lack of access to the resources they need in order to create a successful business. This sparked his move from traditional venture capital around 2017 to his transition into Google for Startups in May of 2018. Upon arrival, he set a goal to improve the program’s efficiency in how they support founders. He then began his sidekick mission to create access for underrepresented founders to resources and mentorship, no matter where they were in the world.
Success Today and Tomorrow
Jason is currently involved in a plethora of startup programs including programs focused on black founders, female founders, and even startups related to pressing topics such as global warming. He differentiates these programs from other startup programs through his attempts at achieving grants for these founders to begin their entrepreneurial journey. One particular program that he highlights is the Black Angel group: a collective focused on helping black googlers learn how to angel invest. Success stories include producing several executives of color, as well as connecting black googlers across geographies.
An important matter for Jason Scott is the ability to build generational wealth for founders and their families. He describes today’s economic climate as a place where the power is where the money is, and in order to eliminate bias we must provide these founders of color with the resources they need in order to build generational wealth for their families and level the playing field. Between his leadership position in Google for Startups, the founding of the Black Angel Group, and his many programs for entrepreneurial founders, it is safe to say that Jason is well on his way to winning the “Oscar” for best entrepreneurial sidekick.