Google invests in Madison countian’s startup

Google invests in Madison countian’s startup


A business two Madison County natives launched in Mississippi State’s Entrepreneurship Center is receiving $250,000 and widespread recognition as one of only 24 companies across North America selected for the award from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.

Buzzbassador’s CEO and co-founder Calvin Waddy, a 2018 MSU College of Business alumnus, has been identified by Google as a top emerging tech founder, selected from thousands of founders and tech companies evaluated for the award.

Buzzbassador is a software-as-a-service application that automates influencer marketing for growing consumer brands. It is the flagship product of Rocketing Systems, Inc., a software company—founded in 2020 by business students working under the guidance of MSU’s E-Center—that creates automated e-commerce and marketing solutions.

Waddy and Shelby Baldwin have been growing their Buzzbassador business. 

On July 13, Buzzbassador was selected by Google as one of 24 companies in the country to join the fourth annual Google for Startups Black Founders Fund program. 

The $250,000 from Google includes $150,000 in non-dilutive capital and $100,000 worth of Google Cloud credits. These resources are set to catapult the company’s efforts in shaping the future of influence marketing for small and medium enterprises. 

Baldwin, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Buzzbassador, is a Ridgeland native and has claimed top honors along with Waddy in numerous business pitch competitions and was named among the Southeast’s Top Technology Startups by Venture Atlanta in 2020.

Waddy and Baldwin were both raised in Madison County and attended Madison County Schools before heading to Mississippi State to earn their undergrad degrees. 

The program is an influencer marketing automation platform that empowers direct-to-consumer and retail brands of all sizes and industries to successfully partner with social media content creators to drive sales. The platform delivers a streamlined solution that puts influencer

marketing on auto-pilot, creating an easy way for growing businesses to recruit, manage, engage, track, and reward creators, but without the many hours of hassle that have traditionally been required to carry out this marketing strategy manually. 

Waddy said Buzzbassador’s acceptance into Google for Startups Black Founder Fund marks a pivotal milestone in his company’s journey and growth. 

“Google’s investment and belief in our company is a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication to our mission,” Waddy said. “The majority of our over $1 million in venture capital raised to date has come from angel investors connected to Starkville, MSU, and the Mississippi State E-Center, through networks such as Bulldog Angel Network.” 

Waddy added that the partnership with Google will allow his team to tap into Google’s vast system of advanced technologies and expertise from its global network. He said that Google’s backing of an MSU-founded startup is a strong sign for not only the quality of a business education at MSU, but also of the caliber of entrepreneurship support provided by MSU’s Entrepreneurship Center. 

The Black Founders Fund was established in 2020 and provides cash awards and hands-on support to help Black-led startups in the United States build and grow their businesses. 

“We’re passionate about this company because we ourselves faced these challenges,” Waddy said. “As students at MSU, Shelby and I successfully grew out three consumer brands using micro-influences, which laid the foundation for Buzzbassador. Since its beta launch in 2020, we’ve generated over $20 million in sales for our brands and activated over 140,000 users globally in 20 countries.”

Eric Hill, director of MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, said he has only met a few students that are as determined as Waddy. 

“During his time at MSU, Calvin and his team pitched several ideas that just didn’t quite make it, but he never gave up and each one got him closer to finding the real pain point that led to Buzzbassador,” Hill said. 

“That tenacity is one of the hallmarks of some of the greatest entrepreneurs, and we’re so proud to see him acknowledged by one of the most recognizable names in tech. Calvin represents everything we aspire to support at the E-Center.” 

To learn more about Waddy’s Buzzbassador business, visit

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