A message from our CEO, Ed Evans

As we reflect on the upheaval caused by the pandemic, we believe that technology is a powerful tool for realising a more resilient, sustainable and equal future. Covid exposed existing inequalities across society, and we have reconsidered how we can do more to create a fairer future for all. We’re determined to go further, by not only embedding equality, inclusion and empowerment at the heart of the Trust, but also recognising its critical role in tech innovation.

To enable people to live well, with access to rewarding work, in a community where their voice is heard, social tech is more important than ever before. As we look to the future, we are convinced that it will play an increasingly central role in shaping a better future for all. We will continue to collaborate to demonstrate what an alternative future looks like and we invite you to join us.

Increasing access to inclusive finance

Our ventures tell us the biggest factor limiting their growth is the availability of suitable investment. In 2021, we deepened our understanding of their needs and have been developing and testing an alternative approach to dominant VC investment models, as well as continuing to invest in Fair By Design.

We put people at the heart of investment.

This year, we invested in Xploro, which is guided by its advisory board of young people, empowering them to take control of their own healthcare experience.

Hear from Emmie and Emma.

“Technology innovation done right – that is, purpose-led and designed with users front and centre – is one of the biggest opportunities we have to address the current and future challenges we face as a society. Giving access to inclusive finance to enable tech ventures to thrive is critical to realising the change we want to see in the world”.

Dr Maria A Nelson, Trustee, Social Tech Trust

To build back better and leverage the huge opportunity for technology to transform lives, we need a different approach to investment. We are committed to supporting our portfolio to thrive.

For every £1m funded by Social Tech Trust, our ventures raise 11 times more in further investment.
“All we want is an investor that agrees to act in the company's best interest, not solely in the best interest of the investor.”
of ventures invested in by Social Tech Trust are still active

Our investment in the Fair By Design Fund, continues to have a positive impact on the 14 million people in the UK who live in poverty:

Number of people supported by the Fair By Design Fund
Total estimated poverty premium reduction
Estimated saving per person

Why sustainable impact needs a more inclusive approach to investment

To increase access to flexible and inclusive finance and meet the needs of diverse, purpose-driven tech ventures as they grow and scale their impact, our CEO Ed Evans shares an alternative to current approaches.

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“The developing but vital field of equality impact investing seeks to promote and enable the work of both investors and equality and human rights actors, with a shared goal of tackling inequality. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Social Tech Trust and other UK and International impact investors who are demonstrating or piloting Equality Impact Investing as well as helping advance the wider conditions needed to build and increase its use such as policy change, professional standards, impact measurement and capacity building.”

Ceri Goddard, Director, EIIP

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Deepening our understanding of ventures’ investment needs

In 2021, we set out to understand more about the need for a new investment approach by holding roundtable discussions with social tech ventures.

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Collaborating for a shared vision of the future

This year, we strengthened our capacity to make change by bringing together partners with a shared vision of equality, inclusion and empowerment to help social tech ventures grow and impact more lives.

Supporting COVID recovery with AI

For a third consecutive year, we worked with Microsoft to ensure people’s needs are shaping AI. This time we focussed on two of the UK’s most pressing challenges – health and sustainability.

Hear from the founders…

Delivering the best patient care by improving operational efficiencies in hospitals

“The AI for Social Impact team were a dream to work with and really accelerated our Customer Success team. Their support, knowledge and insights have enabled us to look at how we deliver best care to NHS organisations. We’ve reconnected with our “why” and adopted practical tips around data to prove and validate our impact. I have been on many accelerators and programmes and this was second to none.

Ashish Kalrayia, CEO and Founder, MediShout

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Creating a safer world of sport for young people

“If we are honest with ourselves, when we initially joined the programme, we probably were not fully embracing communicating and measuring our social impact. Social Tech Trust gave us tools, techniques and access to very smart people to put a formal framework around our social impact that will serve us well for the future.”
Harriet Strzelecki, Marketing and Communications Director, Podium Analytics

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Revolutionising global access to medication and advice

“Since AI for Social Impact, we shout about our social impact to all our patients and partners. We also use social impact as a key factor when deciding if we will be adding a new service to our online pharmacy. We’re now embedding social impact as a key part of our communication with partners and helping us identify strategic partners who share the same values.”
Thuria Wenbar, CEO and Founder, E-Pharmacy

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Rapid and accurate early diagnosis of Cancer

“We have re-engineered our business model to have social impact more at the core of what we are trying to achieve as a business. ”
Adam Bryant, CEO and Founder of CanSense

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Our 2021 AI for Social Impact Programme in a snapshot:

ventures secured contracts for their product or service during the programme
people reached by the ventures in the cohort (2020-2021)
of leaders are from underrepresented groups or have lived experience of their challenge

Helping the world bounce back from COVID

To help the world bounce back from the pandemic, new approaches to healthcare are needed more than ever before. This summer, we teamed up with the Impact Interview to tell the stories of how our AI for Social Impact founders are responding.

Listen to the podcast series>

Shaping a better future with AI

Our 2021 AI for Social Impact Programme aimed to support the UK healthcare and manufacturing industries to recover faster and better from the pandemic. Our Portfolio Manager, Kathy Marcham reflects on the impact of this year’s programme.

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“If we want to create lasting change and grow the UK economy through innovation, diverse organisations need to come together over a shared vision of the future.  AI for Social Impact is a partnership between Social Tech Trust and Microsoft, founded on our shared belief that the biggest opportunity for AI is when we use it to solve the world’s biggest challenges.  I’m proud of the demonstrable impact our partnership has had.”

Jimmy Cockerton, UK Business Strategy Manager, Microsoft.

Demonstrating the potential of social tech

Few of us could have imagined the impact of the pandemic. In another year of uncertainty, we witnessed how critical technology is in responding to the opportunities for positive change. We’re proud to have supported so many impact-driven organisations that are shaping a better future.

Identifying the risk of cancer - fast

With a growing number of people waiting to see their GP and wait times for cancer referrals of more than 100 days, it’s critical that we look to tech innovation to transform our approach.

Our 2021 AI for Social Impact alumni, Dr Bhavagaya Bakshi writes about how C the Signs are using AI to help GPs identify cancer risk through COVID-19 and beyond– all in less than 30 seconds.

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Enabling patients to manage their healthcare

COVID-19 has put enormous pressure on the NHS with millions of people waiting for hospital appointments. DrDoctor is providing new ways for patients to access the care they need, when they need it.

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Voice as a powerful measure of inclusion

The pandemic has deepened inequality, exaggerating existing vulnerabilities and creating new environments for risk. On Our Radar is a specialist group of journalists, technologists, digital storytellers and development practitioners using community reporting to amplify the voices and experiences of those on the margins of society.

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Fighting bad information

This year, Full Fact is responding to an avalanche of false and misleading claims about the pandemic, at a time when good, trustworthy information is more important than ever.

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Empowering people to look after their financial wellbeing

In-work financial stress has worsened over the past year. More than 40% of those in the UK – almost 27 million people – have suffered from low financial resilience and poor financial health over 2020/21- up from 24 million the previous year. Wagestream works with employers to build a fairer, more flexible pay system.

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Looking forward

As we recover from the pandemic, we’re focussed on making big strides towards our strategic goals of increasing access to inclusive finance, collaborating for a shared vision of the future and demonstrating the potential of social tech

Our impact so far…

years’ experience working with social tech organisations
organisations directly supported
funding directed to develop social tech and a supportive ecosystem for it to thrive
people benefited from our alumni’s products and services

We’re exploring how we can shape technology to support:

Levelling up by increasing community participation in tech solutions
COVID recovery by enabling young people to access skills and jobs of the future
Reducing inequalities in health by enabling everyone to access information about their health

If you share our vision of a world where social transformation is the driving force behind tech, we’d love to hear from you.