New Social Tech Amplifier seeking ventures that offer tech solutions to help tackle youth unemployment

Catch22, Ufi VocTech Trust and the Social Tech Trust launch new amplifier in bid to improve employment prospects for young people

The Social Tech Amplifier, launched today, is set to mobilise the power and energy of tech ventures in public service delivery to help young people access jobs and navigate the future of work.

Delivered in partnership by Catch22, Ufi VocTech Trust and the Social Tech Trust, and supported by Hatch and Microsoft, the Amplifier is inviting ventures to apply for the programme, where they’ll receive funding and support to scale their ideas.

David Hinton, Catch22’s Project Lead for the Social Tech Amplifier, said:

“At Catch22, we firmly believe in the power of alternative public service delivery – not least in the space of supporting young people into work. Our current employability programmes support nearly 2000 people a year into work or training, over a third of whom are NEET. We also have a strong procurement track record; 60% of the ventures we supported through our Incubate, Accelerate, Amplify programme won public sector contracts to the value of £21m.”

Those ventures who are successful in applying to be part of the Social Trust Amplifier will receive support with:

Accessing Business to Government (B2G) markets

> Helping ventures to identify the impact and commercial opportunities for deployment in public service delivery.
> Helping ventures to test and refine solutions through existing supply chain and network partners
> Helping ventures to deploy impactful and commercially successful solutions in the B2G market

Venture development and contract readiness

> A series of workshops including strategy, finance, branding, marketing, sales, and pitching
> Peer support and expert coaching and mentoring sessions
> Demo Day showcasing business to a panel of experts

Technology support

> Microsoft Founder Hub resources including products and Azure credits.
> Expert mentors – advice and guidance from Microsoft’s technical experts.
> Partner offers – access to product and service offers from Microsoft partners.

Raising investment

> Helping ventures know what types of funding and investment is available to them and best aligns with their goals and needs
> Helping ventures understand the process of raising investment and what they need to prepare for fundraising
> Helping ventures understand what different investors are looking for and start to form an investment strategy

Thomas Heiser, Head of Communications and Ufi, said:

“Digital technology has a crucial role to play in supporting young people to access jobs and navigate the future of work. The Social Tech Amplifier has the potential to have a real impact, supporting new ventures to scale and transforming the employment prospects of young people. We’re very excited to be a partner and look forward to supporting the first cohort of ventures.”

Chris Blues, Programme Director at the Social Tech Trust, said:

“Technology can be a powerful tool for addressing the world’s biggest challenges. The Social Tech Amplifier will truly supercharge young people’s employment prospects through scaling impact tech ventures.

“We know all know that talent is evenly distributed, yet opportunity is not. The Social Tech Amplifier will showcase how we can create a world where social transformation is the driving force behind tech and nurture solutions that have a deep-rooted impact on young people’s lives.”

Applications close Friday 2nd December 2022 at midday.
Register your interest.


Our partnership with Microsoft and the Met Office enabled us to support ten social tech ventures to tackle pressing social issues from developing intelligence software to combat online illicit trade to helping food and drink businesses score and display the environmental impact of their products to consumers. This year’s cohort has the potential to tackle climate change from a holistic perspective, creating change that can be truly fundamental to the way that we live our lives and engage with the planet.  

To give our ventures every chance of success, they were supported through expert advice and workshops on commercial development and social impact in addition to coaching to maximise the impact of their work.  

The programme saw Scrapp, a patent pending, purpose-led platform on a mission to reduce global waste, realign their value proposition for greater impact and Yes Make taking on excerpt advice to support them in solidifying their work in mitigating the locally and globally, by encouraging outdoor education and facilitating low carbon transport and renewable energy whilst promoting creativity and play for people of all ages. This year’s AI for Environmental Sustainability programme has catalysed the work being done by ventures committed to using technology for social good.  

What’s next for this year’s ventures?  

This year’s ventures are ready to make a positive difference, but in order to make a sustainable impact on the world, they need the support of a wider community. Here’s a snapshot of what our ventures hope to achieve and how you can help: 

Materials Nexus, is a company committed to accelerating the transition towards net-zero materials is on the lookout for businesses who are interested in decarbonising their businesses.  

Scrapp wants to ensure that recycling is a viable and widely adopted method to appropriately handle waste. They’re seeking investment to scale their operations and want businesses to adopt Scrapp and roll-out effective recycling programs that save them money on contamination fees. 

Vistalworks is tackling illicit trade, a $2.2trillion a year problem that depletes corporate profitability, funds organised crime, affects national security, and impacts progress towards all UN Sustainability Goals and Net Zero Climate Targets. Their next step is to develop the best way to measure the impact of their work.  

Yes Make want the urban design and construction process to include sustainable materials practise and the voices of their end-users from the beginning. Through their work they hope to see the mitigation of the climate emergency and uptake in low-carbon alternatives in industry done in a just way. Yes Make is changing the way urban design takes place, but they need capital to support them in their mission.  

If you’re interested in supporting one of this year’s ventures, get in touch with us Hello@socialtechtrust.org 


Ten companies focused on finding solutions to reduce carbon emissions and waste, preserve water and protect ecosystems have been selected to take part in Microsoft’s AI for Environmental Sustainability Accelerator programme.

The programme, launched in collaboration with the Met Office and Social Tech Trust, will support the cohort through a four-month programme to advance their environmental solution using AI.

The 10 companies will develop their technological capabilities and commercial strategy, build the relationships they need to scale their solution and, crucially, learn how to measure the impact it will have for environmental progress.

Among the accelerator participants are Exeter-based Quanterra Systems, which is creating a measurement solution for the indicators of ecosystem health; Scotland’s Vistalworks, is developing intelligence software to combat online illicit trade; Materials Nexus from Teddington is using AI to speed up the discovery of sustainable material alternatives, and Yes Make is helping design London’s public spaces with reclaimed materials from other developments.

Other companies include:

Modulous (London): Modulous creates a globally scalable model for the design and delivery of homes that are sustainable, cost effective and promote wellbeing for residents

Reewild (London): Reewild helps food and drink businesses to score and display the environmental impact of their products to consumers

Scrapp (Edinburgh): Scrapp makes recycling simple, fun and rewarding

Seab Energy (London): Seab Energy creates easy-to-install micro-power plants that turn food and bio-wastes into heat, electricity, water and fertiliser

CO2Analysis (Hampshire): CO2Analysis makes Scope 3 emissions easy and quick to analyse

Treeconomy (London): Treeconomy generates financial value from ecosystem services and natural capital, using an offset-as-a-service business model

The companies joined programme partners, investors and Microsoft’s UK Chief Sustainability Officer, Musidora Jorgensen, for a kick-off event at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading on March 31.

Jorgensen said: “Climate change is one of our most pressing threats and we need solutions quickly to deal with the problems we face. We know artificial intelligence is a powerful tool we can deploy today to make progress. These ten creative companies have been selected for their focus on significant industry challenges and our ambition is that with Microsoft’s support we can crack them.”

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said: “Failure to address climate change will have catastrophic consequences for our planet, and we must act now. The ten selected social tech ventures represent the possibilities available to us for safeguarding the future of our planet, and we are committed to supporting them to make this a reality.”

Start-ups selected for the four-month equity-free accelerator programme will receive Microsoft Azure cloud credits, advice from experts on AI, technology, commercial development and social impact, workshops, coaching from Microsoft, The Met Office and Social Tech Trust, networking opportunities and funding support to scale their solution and put it in the hands of those who need it most.


29 March 2022 

We are thrilled to announce that we have become signatories to Diversity Forum’s Manifesto. The Diversity Forum is a collective on a mission to drive inclusive social investment in the UK, through the convening of sector-wide groups, commissioning research, and knowledge sharing. The Manifesto acts as a public commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and builds on the Trust’s belief that EDI is critical to achieving a world where social transformation drives tech.   

The renewed commitments follow an expansion of the Trust’s approach to EDI, ensuring that the core principles are integral to the Trust’s strategy and embedded across all aspects of our work. As signatories of Diversity Forum’s Manifesto, the Trust has made 7 commitments and 10 initial actions that will be actioned in the coming months to support its EDI practice.   

Social Tech Trust, CEO Edward Evans says “The pandemic has shone a light on existing inequalities within society. We believe technology can help to address these challenges, provided it is guided by principles of equality. We are convinced that stronger EDI practices can help enable more people to shape a better future where everyone in society can live well.”   

-END- 

Read the full Manifesto.


The UK has a vibrant impact and social investment market. Yet beneath the headlines of record levels of investment in UK tech and social businesses, social tech ventures continue to tell us that access to appropriate finance is the biggest obstacle to their plans for sustainability and growth. 

To understand more about the barriers they face, and what new approaches they would like to see, we convened a series of roundtable discussions with social tech ventures from across the UK. 

Our research identified several challenges that ventures experience when engaging different investor groups, including misalignment with the dominant VC model, investor aversion to impact-focused business models, and investor hesitancy about tech propositions. 

The participants expressed a clear desire to see more innovative investment models and instruments being used that have a closer alignment with their financial and impact objectives. 

Several key areas were highlighted where the ventures saw opportunities to take a different approach, including exploring models that focus on sustainability as well as growth; developing more revenue-based approaches; and addressing the need for patient and flexible finance. 

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust says, “social tech ventures have consistently evidenced their commercial acumen and the positive impact of their work on society. This report validates what we have known for years – social tech ventures are being negatively impacted by mis-aligned funding models. Going forward, we’ll continue to focus on addressing the investment gap so that ventures can access the capital they need to build a better society.” 

END 

Read the full report. For more information about our investment approach, read our blog Fair play: why sustainable impact needs a more flexible approach to investment’.  

For further enquiries, please contact us via hello@socialtechtrust.org 


13 January 2022 

 

Today we open the call for applications to our 2022 AI for Environmental Sustainability in partnership with the Met Office and Microsoft.  This is the fourth programme developed and delivered together, through a shared vision of AI that transforms the lives of people and communities. 

Recent research has shown that only 41 percent of UK organisations are on track to reach the government’s 2050 environmental sustainability targets. The programme responds to an urgent need to address is, and challenges in the following areas: 

> Reducing carbon emissions and waste 

> Preserving water  

> Protecting ecosystems 

 

Social Tech Trust will use their sector-specific expertise to support ventures:

Turn their learning into practice and, ultimately, social impact.

Expand their network through expert partners and deliver support.

> With 1:1 support via a portfolio manager who will help the Cohort connect to the people and organisations in our network who can support their development and help them develop their social transformation vision. 

 

Applications are open now, until 20th February 2022. Successful ventures will participate in a four-month programme, starting in March 2022 and will benefit from talks, workshops, seminars and 121 sessions in business development, marketing, technical support, social impact, climate science and innovation delivered by thematic experts. 

 

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said: “From floods to forest fires, 2021 was a global wake-up call for how we engage with the planet. In the aftermath of climate disasters and COP26, we’re focusing on the role of AI and social tech in addressing environmental sustainability and tackling climate change. We’re searching for innovative ventures to help create a better world for us all. 

The previous AI for Social Impact cohort consisted of 13 ambitious, purpose-led tech ventures committed to shaping a better future by supporting the UK healthcare and manufacturing industries – two of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic – to recover faster and better from COVID-19. 85% of our leaders were from underrepresented backgrounds or had lived experience of their challenge. Find out more about them in our 2021 ‘Impact Report’.  

Our programmes are open to people from all backgrounds, and we are particularly interested in hearing from founders and teams from under-represented groups. For application criteria, FAQs and to apply, click here. 


Our vision is now more critical than ever before. The pandemic has exposed huge inequality across society, and technology is fundamental in shaping a more equal, inclusive and empowering future for everyone.

Following a strategic review and building on over 12 successful years nurturing social tech innovation, we’re strengthening our organisation to pursue our vision of a world where social transformation drives tech.

We’re recruiting for three new leadership roles to deliver our ambitious growth strategy, specifically in designing and delivering an innovative new investment fund and building multi-year social tech partnerships, to sustain our long-term impact.

This is a unique and exciting opportunity to join a newly formed leadership team within an organisation which spans multiple sectors.

We’re looking for exceptional people to join us on this exciting journey – do you have what it takes?

Read more about the roles:

  • Partnership Development Director
  • Programmes Director
  • Operations Director

Social Tech Trust pioneers a new approach to investment and backs health tech startup Xploro to empower young patients.

21 July 2021, London

Impact investor Social Tech Trust has made a revenue-based investment in Xploro as part of a broader drive to increase the availability and access to flexible and inclusive finance, and meet the needs of diverse, purpose-driven tech ventures as they grow.

Despite the UK being third in the world for investment in impact tech, 62% of social ventures do not have suitable finance in place.  With revenue-based investing gaining traction in the US, Social Tech Trust’s approach is designed to enable early-stage social tech ventures to have more control over their path to growth.

Xploro, which is proven to reduce anxiety, uses augmented reality, gameplay and 3D interactive models of the hospital environment to familiarise children with treatments and procedures. An AI avatar chatbot which uses age-appropriate language to inform children of what to expect, reduces stress for young patients.  Product development is overseen by an Expert Advisory Board of twelve children with different experiences of healthcare.

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said, “Time and time again, social tech ventures like Xploro, that have the potential to transform entire sectors of society, tell us that they are unable to access suitable capital to fuel their growth and make the change they want to see.  Our investment approach is designed to be enabling, not prescriptive.  At an early stage, most ventures don’t know what their growth path will look like, so they need flexibility and optionality to achieve their ambitions. We are thrilled to be able to support Xploro in the next stage of their journey, reaching more children and families going through one of the hardest times in their lives.”

Sutin Yang, Portfolio Manager at Social Tech Trust added “Our investment in Xploro is incredibly exciting not only because of the huge impact Xploro will have on young patients fear of medical treatments but also because we have created a new hybrid investment instrument for the UK, based on popular convertible loans which will provide truly flexible and patient financing for purpose driven tech startups to quickly access the capital they need to scale their impact ”

Dom Raban, co-founder and CEO of Xploro commented, “We need a healthcare system where people are included in decisions about their health and Xploro provides a platform to improve communication, understanding and health outcomes.  This kind of capital is ideally suited to our current fundraising. It will enable us to deliver the next stage of our plans and build our revenues, so we are in a stronger position to determine the right growth path for Xploro”.

END

For more information about our investment approach, read our blog ‘Fair play: why sustainable impact needs a more flexible approach to investment’

Media Enquiries:

Jessica Dillon – hello@socialtechtrust.org 


24th June 2021 

We are thrilled to welcome Dr Maria A. Nelson to our Board today.  Maria complements our nine existing Board members, five of whom joined us in December 2021, further diversifying the group’s skills, life experiences and backgrounds, which will undoubtedly enrich our work.   

The recent appointments follow a refresh of the Trust’s strategy, which seeks to demonstrate the potential of social transformation to drive tech; increase access to flexible and inclusive funding to enable ventures to grow and to increase the collaboration between social tech focused organisations. 

Maria is Director of Innovation Practice at Digital Catapult, where she has built a team of 30 innovation managers and runs a portfolio of technology innovation and acceleration programmes, helping small companies grow, large companies innovate and innovation ecosystems flourish.  

Maria is passionate about driving purpose led innovation by fostering collaboration between bright minds from industry, startups and academia, and believes that innovation thrives where three intentions combine: a vision to solve real-world problems, an ambition to turn ideas into reality, and the belief that together we can get there, one step at a time.  

Commenting on her appointment, Maria said, “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. I am thrilled to be able to contribute by supporting the Social Tech Trust in its work with social tech innovators and communities.” 

On behalf of the team and Board, Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said, “We are all really excited to welcome Maria to our Board.  She brings exceptional talent and experience of tech innovation, combined with a genuine commitment to our vision for social transformation to drive tech.  This puts us in a great position to deliver against our strategy, which is driven by a deep understanding of social challenges and when coupled with tech expertise to deliver solutions, we can make a big difference to people’s lives.” 

Before joining Digital Catapult, Maria was Innovation Programme Manager at Cisco. Maria has an extensive background in innovation management, strategic communications and programme management, and has published a book about creativity and innovation as core assets of contemporary economies. In her spare time, Maria translates poetry and lyrics, and has recently finished work for a world premiere recording of Polish Jewish poetry and music for a German record label. She lives in Broadstairs, Kent with her husband David and daughter Hannah. 

Maria joins our existing Board members – Bill Liao, Anisah Osman Britton, Hannah Keartland, Nick Wise, Rob Tashima, Russell Johnstone, Sebastien Lahtinen, Sunil Suri and Nick Temple.  We are enormously grateful for the support of Beth Murray, who retired from our Board in May this year, following four years as Vice Chair.    

 -END- 

Meet our Board and Team


We’re thrilled to have been selected for Big Society Capital’s Ideas for Impact programme, working in partnership with two fantastic organisations – Catch 22 and Hatch Enterprise.

Over the coming months, we’ll be working together to develop a programme and fund to support organisations in creating solutions to tackle youth unemployment. Together we will help them to grow their impact and revenues by accessing public sector contracting opportunities.

Social Tech Trust CEO, Ed Evans said, “We’re delighted to be working together with Big Society Capital to test new ways of supporting and investing in organisations with solutions that can help tackle the youth unemployment crisis. As we’ve seen over the past year, partnerships rooted in solidarity and a vision for a positive future are critical if we are to drive much-needed change.”

The Ideas for Impact programme aims to identify ideas to tackle social issues which have the potential to take on social investment as a way to scale and support multiple organisations through an investment fund. Social Tech Trust, Catch 22 and Hatch Enterprise are amongst seven winning teams to receive funding and support to develop their idea for impact.

 


Social Tech Trust backs 13 start-ups using AI to help transform UK’s health, manufacturing and resource sectors
19th March 2021, Oxford

Thirteen companies who are helping the UK’s healthcare, manufacturing and resource sectors recover from the impact of COVID-19 have been chosen to join the AI for Social Impact 2021 programme – a partnership between Social Tech Trust and Microsoft.

This is the third time the two organisations have partnered on the programme where Social Tech Trust will support the startups to embed impact management at the core of their organisation, and Microsoft will work with them to develop artificial intelligence solutions that can be used to improve people’s lives and the world around us.

Among those selected to take part in the programme, 85% of the cohort’s senior leaders consider themselves to be from underrepresented groups or as having lived experience of the challenge they are addressing.

The cohort includes Fabriq, a software platform designed to make buildings more sustainable. SafetyNet Technologies has created a device that converts fishing boats into scientific vessels, allowing scientists to have a deeper understanding of the oceans, helping reduce wastage in the seafood industry and assist climate modelling. And, C the Signs is a digital platform that uses AI to identify patients at risk of cancer at a much earlier stage.

Bhavagaya Bakshi, CEO of C the Signs, said: “C the Signs is a purpose driven organisation, founded by doctors, that uses AI to identify patients at risk of cancer at the earliest and most curable stage of the disease.  We are delighted to be selected to join the AI for Social Impact Cohort, where social impact is at the heart of technological endeavour, as we set out to create a future where every patient survives cancer.”

The other startups joining the cohort are:

  • CanSense – accurate, rapid, non-invasive, blood diagnostic for the early detection of cancer
  • CarelQ – chronic disease management platform to help clinicians and patients collaborate
  • e-Surgery – API that enables third parties to offer private prescription medication on their website
  • FollowApp Care – bringing dentists and patients together through personalised digital care journeys
  • iLoF – using AI and photonics to build a cloud-based library of diseases biomarkers and biological profiles
  • Medicspot – Improving remote consultations and making healthcare accessible in every community
  • MediShout – helping hospitals become digitally smarter
  • Neuer Energy – simplifies net zero planning, procurement and transparency
  • Podium Analytics – digital platform that aims to transform the relationship young sports players – and their parents, teachers, coaches and schools – have with injury
  • The Data Analysis Bureau – using machine learning solutions to help organisations have impact

 

The four-month programme offers support on business development, including commercial strategy and raising funds; the fundamentals of AI, including ethical principles, and social impact, including user engagement and managing impact. The start-ups will also receive Azure credits and access to workshops, 1:1 coaching and events to help them grow. They will also receive ongoing support after they leave the programme in June.

Ed Evans, Social Tech Trust CEO, said “As we recover from COVID-19, now more than ever, there is a huge opportunity to transform the way we look after our health, shape the world of work and manage sustainable resources.  This cohort all share a desire to change the world for the better and recognise the valuable role AI can play in shaping our future.  The team and I are excited to welcome these ventures to the Social Tech Trust portfolio and look forward to working with them to deepen their impact on the world.”

Clare Barclay, Microsoft UK CEO, said she was looking forward to seeing the success of the latest cohort. “The passion of these entrepreneurs for solving some of the world’s most critical and challenging societal issues is inspiring,” she said. “I look forward to seeing their success and the impact these great businesses will have on healthcare and manufacturing in the UK”

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This spring, we bring you three fantastic events, one insightful podcast and a thought provoking Green Paper guaranteed to get you thinking.

Celebrating accessibility

On Thursday 18th March – join us, together with East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson to celebrate the achievements of 12 entrepreneurs whose businesses are focused on accessibility.

Register now

Making an impact with vocational technology

We’ve been working with UFI VocTech Trust and others to explore how VocTech can improve vocational outcomes for people most impacted by the digital divide and at greatest risk from the long-term impact of the pandemic on access to training and jobs.

It’s time for you to get involved too – UFI want to engage with the wider community to help shape what they do next.

Have your say

The new different

On 16th March, NorthInvest is hosting a showcase and investment forum event to inspire and educate the entrepreneurs and investors of the future, explore investment outlooks and insights, share knowledge and showcase the best of Northern tech start-ups.

Hear from our Portfolio Manager, Sutin Yang, alongside Check Warner from Ada Ventures and Chris Parsons from ClearlySo.

Register now

Championing UK tech for good

Just over a week ago, we teamed up with the Department for International Trade to showcase UK tech for good through a webinar and panel discussion featuring some of our amazing social tech alumni.

The session was recorded, so if you’d like to hear more about the UK tech for Good landscape from us, Beam, City MaaS and The Future Fox, you can watch the session now.

Watch now

Bringing equality to impact investing

In this new podcast, the network for European funders, Ariadne, explores gender-lens investing and features from Ceri Goddard from Equality Impact Investing (EII).

We’re pleased to be working with Ceri as part of the EII Taskforce, to support their mission and bring further equality to our own work.

Listen now

 

For regular updates, you can sign up to our newsletter from the foot of our homepage or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


We are thrilled to announce that Social Tech Trust is part of the Access Foundation’s ‘Flexible Finance Recovery’ programme.

 

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact many aspects of our lives.  Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen just how important tech is to help keep us safe and well and we continue to support organisations to deliver solutions that make the biggest positive difference to people’s lives.

As we begin our recovery, we recognize the importance of organisations being able to access patient and flexible capital as they work towards sustainability and are working to explore revenue-based investment as an alternative to debt and equity.

Within the cohort, Social Tech Trust leads on one of nine proposals covering a range of different “patient” and “flexible” investment products to meet different financing needs in the future.  The proposals will also address issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion, which the programme is particularly prioritising.

 

Read more about the programme via the Access Foundation’s website.


15th December 2020

It’s our absolute pleasure to welcome five new Trustees to our Board this month. The new appointments double the size of our Board, bringing greater diversity in terms of skills, background and life experience.

The new appointments support a refresh of the Trust’s strategy, which brings a sharper focus on demonstrating the potential for social transformation to drive tech;  increasing access to the flexible and inclusive funding that ventures need to grow; and increasing collaboration between social and tech focused organisations to deliver impact at scale.

Each new Trustee brings an impressive track record in the areas of investment, tech and entrepreneurship – all expertise which will help drive our strategy forward and provide vital guidance and support as we continue to find and back people-led solutions to social challenges.

Our new Trustees will be in great company, alongside our continuing Board – Bill Liao, Hannah Keartland, Sebastien Lahtinen, Beth Murray and Nick Temple.

Joining us in December 2020 are:

 

Anisah Osman Britton

Anisah is the founder of 23 Code Street, a coding school for women in the UK that uses part of its profits to provide digital skills training to women in the slums of Mumbai.

She is also the CTO of Vinokilo- a fashion company making second hand as desirable and as accessible as first-hand fashion.

She has previously held the role of Director at Backstage Capital, an investment fund for underrepresented founders and Operations Director at The Bakery, a corporate innovation house.

 

Russell Johnstone

Russell leads the legal team for BT’s three Consumer brands (BT, EE and Plusnet) supporting their voice, broadband, mobile, TV and sport businesses.

He started his career at a leading London law firm advising clients across the media, communications and technology sectors in the UK and internationally, and has held various in-house legal roles within TV and broadcasting.

Russell is also a trustee of the Social Mobility Business Partnership, an organisation dedicated to improving social mobility in the legal and finance professions.

 

Sunil Suri

Sunil is Head of Ventures and Innovation at Catch22, a national charity building resilience and aspiration in communities across the UK. Sunil brings a strong understanding of the early-stage social venture landscape in the UK  – since 2018, he has led Catch22’s work with social ventures, supporting entrepreneurs to develop solutions that have the potential to transform the delivery of public services.

Sunil previously set up his own social enterprise focused on supporting frontline workers in the homelessness sector after completing a Social Innovation Fellowship at Year Here.  He has also worked for digital bank, Monzo.

 

Rob Tashima

Rob is Chief Growth Officer at Village Capital, an early-stage impact investor and accelerator. Rob leads initiatives across Village Capital’s innovations and partnerships teams, experimenting with new ways of supporting entrepreneurs and investors.

Previously, he spent a decade at an emerging markets consultancy, where he led field studies on investment issues across Africa. Rob also lived in the Middle East, analysing investment competitiveness across regional markets, and worked on business and regulatory policy for the State of California and at a think tank in San Francisco.

Rob serves on the board of directors of US non-profit, Capitol Area Asset Builders; is an advisor to IssueVoter, a civic engagement venture; and Asoko Insight, an Africa-based corporate data venture.

 

Nick Wise

Nick is founder and CEO of OceanMind, a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the world’s fisheries. Using satellites and artificial intelligence, OceanMind empowers effective fisheries enforcement and enables more responsible seafood sourcing, increasing compliance and sustainability.

Nick has been designing large scale, highly secure software solutions for over 20 years, using innovative techniques focused on market needs.  Before joining the ranks of social entrepreneurship, Nick’s journey saw him starting an Internet security business, as CTO of a mature SME, and managing product development in a billion-dollar multinational.

Nick now empowers people to solve global issues with technology.

 

On behalf of our new Trustees, Sunil Suri said “We need greater collaboration if we are to tackle some of the urgent social challenges of our time. That’s why I’m excited to join the board of Social Tech Trust, which has from its earliest days played a starring role in building the UK’s world-leading social tech ecosystem.”

Bill Liao, Chair of Trustees at Social Tech Trust said, “It is a delightful honour to welcome Anisah, Russell, Sunil, Rob and Nick to our Board.  We believe that organisations, driven by a deep understanding of social challenges, that also have deep technical expertise can deliver solutions that make the biggest positive differences to people’s lives.

With the extraordinary talent and experience each of our new trustees bring, we are supercharging our entire team to inspire more organisations to transform lives with tech and we can further tackle some of unintended negative consequences that ill-considered tech has demonstrated.”

Meet our team…

END


15th December 2020

London, UK: Recycleye, the intelligent waste management start-up, has secured £1.2 million in seed funding, led by venture capital investors MMC Ventures and Playfair Capital, with participation from leading funds Atypical Ventures, Creator Fund, and eolos GmbH. The company has also received grants from InnovateUK and the European Union to develop a computer vision system and affordable robotics, that will combine to create the world’s first fully automated, and deployable material recovery facility.

CEO and co-founder of Recycleye, Victor Dewulf, resigned as a banker at Goldman Sachs in 2019 on a mission to remove the dull, dirty, and dangerous manual jobs plaguing the recycling industry. Manual waste pickers, who are exposed to a multitude of occupational hazards, have resulted in the industry facing an average of 50 percent labour turnover every 6 months. Compounded with China’s waste import ban in 2018, which stopped the UK from exporting 50 percent of its waste, the recycling industry is now at overcapacity.

Recycleye’s vision system, which is capable of detecting and classifying all items in waste streams – broken down by material, object and even brand, removes the need for manual waste pickers. Underpinning the high-level accuracy of their system is the company’s own library of waste images – the largest waste image data set in the world, holding over 2 million trained images and counting.

Investor Henrik Wetter Sanchez of Playfair Capital commented: “As deep technology investors, we were impressed by Recycleye’s AI-led computer vision solution to this growing global problem. Yet it is what Victor and Peter have achieved, working fast and lean, in just a year since inception that gives us confidence that they can truly transform the recycling industry with their technology”.

Until now, Recycleye’s advanced team of world-class research engineers have been working in stealth mode with the company’s partners to build and deploy the vision system in under a year. Their early academic partnerships, comprised of nine computer scientists, with Imperial College London and the Delft University of Technology, were pivotal in building Recycleye’s technology. Recycleye has also benefitted from an early partnership with Microsoft, which provided technological capabilities that has scaled the company from research and development to commercialisation. Notably, the company has been accepted into leading accelerator programmes such as Social Tech Trust, which are bolstering Recycleye’s mission to turn rubbish back into resources.

Recycleye’s advisor, former CEO of Veolia France, Bernard Harambillet, introduced to Recycleye through its partnership with eolos GmbH, commented: “I was impressed by Recycleye’s expertise, and their incredible ability to federate around them, the best academic, technological and industrial skills, as well as to transpose all this knowledge in very concrete cases. I am delighted to support the growth of Recycleye, convinced that they will be able to provide breakthrough technologies to further the creation of an ever more circular economy.”

Recycleye has already secured paid pilots with two out of the three largest waste management players in the UK. The company has already deployed multiple systems on the French market, ahead of plans to expand to wider Europe in the next year. The installed systems have successfully exceeded human performance, enabling their clients to optimise their throughput, and for the first time examine their strategic operations using live data of their waste flows.

Victor Dewulf stated: “Recycleye’s cutting-edge technology is a result of Recycleye’s cutting edge team – this new funding will allow us to fuel our relentless drive to spearhead the green revolution! If we are successful, your children will ask you what waste was.”

Sutin Yang, Portfolio Manager, Social Tech Trust said, “Through technology, Recycleye are bringing a game changing solution to the one of society’s largest problems – waste and recycling. We see them as a transformative startup because rather than just disrupting the sector, they are working closely with industry and business partners to modernise the waste management industry as a whole. It’s fantastic to see our alumni venture grow and scale their social impact”.

Amali de Alwis, UK Managing Director, Microsoft for Startups, commented: “At Microsoft, we are committed to driving positive social transformation using 21st century technology and are excited to be working with Recycleye. Having originally joined Microsoft’s AI for Good Programme, we saw the potential in Recycleye’s vision system which leverages deep learning and AI advances, and their ambition to build the operating system for the waste management industry – the key to accelerating the world’s transition towards a circular economy. We support their goal to enable true commoditisation of waste for the waste management industry and look forward to continuing our strategic and technological partnership with Recycleye as they scale.”

Recycleye are using artificial intelligence and robotics to bring transparency, traceability and accountability to removal chains. In 2021, the company will focus on scaling their affordable robotics from development to commercialisation – moving closer to deploying a fully-automated material recovery facility.


30 November 2020

Today we open the call for applications to our 2021 AI for Social Impact Programme, in partnership with Microsoft and Microsoft for Startups.  This is the third programme developed and delivered together, through a shared vision of AI that transforms the lives of people and communities.

The programme responds to an urgent need to address challenges in two key areas:


Future-proofing healthcare in the areas of:   

> Prevention and early detection of cancer and other conditions

> Revolutionising healthcare settings

> Ensuring equitable access to healthcare


Revolutionising manufacturing & resources in the areas of:

> Creating more sustainable supply chains

> Building the factory & workforce of the future

> Transforming water & energy through renewables

 

Applications are open now, until 24th January 2021. Successful ventures will participate in a four-month programme, starting in March 2021 and will benefit from resources, advice, and one-to-one support to help them grow and scale the impact of their purpose driven AI initiative.

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our health and our work, impacting people across the UK in different ways.  As we begin our recovery, our attention turns to where tech can have the greatest impact on improving lives and communities in the areas hardest hit by the pandemic.  We’re looking for exceptional ventures with lived experience and a vision of a better future.”

The previous AI for Good cohort graduated in October 2020 and included 11 purpose-driven startups focussing on four key areas – AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility, AI for Humanitarian action and AI for Cultural Heritage.  You can read more about our previous programmes in ‘Our Impact Journey’ .

Our programmes are open to people from all backgrounds and we are particularly interested in hearing from founders and teams from under-represented groups.

For application criteria, FAQs and to apply, click here.


6 November 2020 – Latest cohort graduates from our 2020 AI for Good Accelerator, in partnership with Microsoft.

Together with our partners Microsoft and Microsoft for Startups, today we celebrated the graduation of our second AI for Good cohort.

Joined online by an audience spanning the social tech ecosystem, the virtual event showcased the eleven purpose-led ventures all using AI to make a positive impact on either the earth, accessibility, humanitarian action, and cultural heritage.

Following over 200 hours of support, which gave them access to the technology, resources and expertise to help them develop their solutions, the founders shared their progress since joining the accelerator programme in February.

Tiernan Mines, CEO of Hello Lamp Post said “The quality of start-ups in the cohort was impressive. It really helped that the companies were all at similar stages and not competing. This allowed everyone to open up and share experiences candidly, which is incredibly liberating for an entrepreneur. We’re extremely thankful to have been part of the AI for Good programme and are excited to have Microsoft and Social Tech Trust as close advisors for our journey going forward.”

The 2020 programme delivered 63 workshops and events aimed at developing their social, business and technical capabilities, whilst also providing 70 hours of specialist one-to-one support to help ventures meet their specific goals. This year has been challenging for all and in response to COVID-19, we shifted to online delivery, flexing our support to meet changing circumstances, for example, meeting urgent funding needs and providing much needed guidance and moral support.

The ventures learnt about topics including impact management, genuine user engagement and social transformation, alongside business, data and AI. They are leaving the programme with more closely aligned social impact and commercial goals and have already raised £1.5 million since joining us in February.

Andy Smith, Chief Partnership Officer at MiiCare said, “The conversations we are now having with potential partners, customers and investors include knowledge and skills we gained on the programme. Even mentioning that we are part of the 2020 AI for Good cohort has a positive impact, as the programme has a very positive reputation.”

The ventures graduating from the cohort are:

Akari – developed a conversational app to help with accessibility needs.

Baobab – Using technology to enable access to justice at scale for law clinics, community advice centres, and pro bono legal operations.

BeneTalk – World’s first wearable speech tracker and digital coach for speech fluency therapy.

EcoSync – Cloud-based platform helping commercial buildings to stop heating empty rooms.

Good Boost –   Provides affordable and accessible therapeutic exercise programmes through cutting-edge technology.

Hello Lamp Post – Helps cities better understand, communicate with and educate its citizens through playful conversations with street objects like statues via text messages.

miiCARE –  Developed MiiCube with built-in sensors and Monica, a personal AI-based digital health companion to help the elderly live more independently and be safe, healthy and happy.

MyCognition – Tracks, treats and prevents poor mental health through a cognitive assessment and training platform.

OrxaGrid – A socially driven team that envisions energy optimisation for a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for all.

Signly – Has developed an internet browser extension that offers sign language for web pages

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust, said “Congratulations to all of the ventures graduating from the AI for Good Accelerator programme.  Due to COVID-19, it has been a really challenging time, which has shown just why we need purpose driven ventures like this to succeed in addressing big social challenges.  We’re really proud to have worked with these teams and look forward to seeing how they continue on their impact journey”.  

And there’s exciting news – our third generation of the accelerator programme delivered in partnership with Microsoft, will aim to support the UK’s Covid recovery and will be launched in the coming weeks.  Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on social media via the foot of our homepage to find out more.

 

 

 

 


As technology continues to play a vital role in addressing the challenges we face, we’re incredibly proud to share an update on how we’ve been supporting purpose-led ventures to transform lives with tech.

While the global pandemic highlights how important tech is to help keep us safe and well, we think it’s timely to reflect on our progress. We’re calling this report ‘Our Impact Journey’ to recognise the changing shape of our approach.

Read our report to find out more about our impact journey during the last 2 years as Social Tech Trust.


Join our online workshop and learn more about how to manage your social impact.

> Register here! 

 

What we’ll cover:

In this interactive session, Social Tech Trust Impact Manager, Natalie Tucker, will share our insights from working directly with over 300 socially motivated ventures and offer you practical tips for managing your own impact.

By the end of the session, you will have a better understanding of:

> What impact management is
> How it can be useful
> How you can get started

You will leave with the beginnings of your own simple framework to start measuring your impact.

Who should attend?

The session is designed for anyone with an idea or an initiative which aims to have a social impact, whether you already have a start-up, you’re developing an idea, work for a charity or simply want to understand more about impact management.

Date and Time

Thursday, 24 September 2020

14:00 – 15:30 BST

> Register here! 


20th March 2020

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on almost every aspect of our lives and an immediate impact on many of the social tech ventures that we support.  The uncertain future is challenging, but we want to reassure the organisations we work with that we’re here to support you through these difficult times.

 

The health and well-being of our team and the community of ventures is our top priority.  We’ve taken a number of steps to make sure that we continue to provide the best possible support we can, while keeping everyone safe and healthy:

> We’ve stopped all face to face meetings and events and moved our AI for Good Programme, in partnership with Microsoft, to online delivery only.

> We’ve set up a new online community for peer to peer support for our venture portfolio and alumni to share resources, news and advice to help our ventures through this exceptional time.

> Along with a wider group of funders, we recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak is an exceptional event that will have an impact on civil society groups, and want to offer reassurance that we stand with the sector during this time. We have signed the COVID-19 funder statement.

> There are many useful resources for social enterprises, charities and startups in circulation and we’ll continue to share what we learn on our Twitter feed, @SocialTechTrust.

>As a small organisation ourselves, we understand that everyone is juggling multiple priorities right now and appreciate our ventures may need to pivot on their approach and turn their immediate attention to other things.

>Like much of the population, we’re embracing the benefits of tech and are all working from home, while managing the demands of team capacity. We still aim to be on hand to be a critical friend, so if you’re part of our portfolio or alumni and need a little help and advice, please do get in touch with us at hello@socialtechtrust.org.  We may not have all the answers you need but we will aim to point you in the right direction

>We encourage you to let us know about your challenges and concerns about COVID-19 and the impact it is having on your organisation. Behind the scenes we’re working hard with our partners to make sure you have the support you need, so be sure to let us know how we can help.

 

Best wishes,

Ed

CEO, Social Tech Trust

 


12 March 2020

Mayor of London’s flagship tech scheme, the Civic Innovation Challenge reveals award winners 

 

  • Raven Science to help tackle violent extremism online through anonymous reporting
  • 3D Repo making planning system more accessible to help tackling housing crisis
  • Six companies selected to work with TfL to tackle freight congestion

 

Two of the capital’s most innovative tech companies have won vital funding from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, after responding to his call to tackle key challenges facing the capital.

The winners were selected from more than 125 entrants to the second round of the Civic Innovation Challenge, delivered in partnership with Social Tech Trust and Microsoft.

Raven Science will work with the Metropolitan Police Service to develop their proposals to counter violent extremism online, while 3D Repo will move ahead with their plans to make the planning system more accessible to Londoners.

Raven Science’s winning proposal to tackle extremism will enable members of the public to report online violent extremist content through a smartphone app while remaining anonymous.

This will complement the Mayor of London’s ongoing work in this area, which includes recently launching a new £800,000 fund – with support from Google’s philanthropic arm – to empower communities to tackle violent extremism and fight intolerance across the capital.

Meanwhile, 3D Repo are making the planning system more accessible to Londoners without technical planning knowledge through a clear, well-designed online system which can be accessed via the cloud.

This is designed to make Londoners become more aware of future developments across the city – giving them the information and confidence to engage with public consultations on current planning applications, which will in turn help them play their part in tackling London’s housing crisis.

Each winner will be awarded a contract worth £40,000 as well as the opportunity to test their ideas with experts in each field and Londoners directly, through City Hall’s Talk London platform.

The Civic Innovation Challenge brings together London’s public and private sector with tech companies, which were asked to pitch new solutions to key issues facing the capital.

For tech startups and SMEs, the scheme offers the chance to develop products with the needs of Londoners firmly in mind. Companies taking part have access to unique insight, expertise, cutting-edge data and pilot sites, as well as mentoring and business support from City Hall’s partners. This gives participants the chance to develop the commercial potential of their ideas as well as providing solutions to the city’s challenges.

The Challenge forms part of the Mayor’s wider efforts to make London a ‘test-bed city’ for technological innovation which brings real benefits to Londoners’ lives, as well as supporting the best and brightest from the capital’s world-leading tech sector.

A further six companies have been selected to work with Transport for London to tackle road congestion caused by freight deliveries, with each winning £20,000 to develop their ideas. They are:

> AppyWay – a digital tool which helps organisations manage traffic flows, parking solutions and other kerbside activity.

> EMSOL – an easy-to-use dashboard to help organisations use data to take action on air quality.

> ENSO – developing a new generation of more energy efficient, durable and sustainable tyres for electric vehicles.

> Fernhay – creating zero-emission products for freight deliveries in cities.

> Ford Mobility – designing, growing and investing in emerging mobility services and connectivity solutions.

> Humanising Autonomy – developing real-time behaviour analysis software for accident and near-miss prevention to increase safety for vulnerable road users.

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is one of the most exciting and dynamic cities in the world – but we face some significant challenges. My flagship tech scheme – the Civic Innovation Challenge – is a unique opportunity for London’s best and brightest tech companies to tackle some of the capital’s most pressing problems.

“I’m so impressed with the high calibre of entrants this year and the standard of competition means I’m sure we’ll see some really exciting projects taken to the next level – including by gaining feedback directly from Londoners themselves.

“It’s only through the public and private sector working together that we’ll come up with the best ideas we need to help improve Londoners’ lives the future.”

 

Programme Development Manager at Social Tech Trust, Anne Radl, said: “What I love about the Civic Innovation Challenge is that it has helped some of London’s most ambitious tech startups take a people-centred approach to make a lasting change in their communities, while expanding their business opportunities at the same time.

“The results have been inspiring – living proof we can shape tech to deliver the future we all want to see.  Congratulations to the winners and to all organisations that took part in the programme.”

ENDS

Notes


11th February 2020

Eight of the capital’s innovative tech start-ups have been shortlisted for funding from the Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge, to counter violent extremism online and to help make the planning system more accessible.

More than 125 entrants have been whittled down to the eight finalists in the second round of the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge, ​which will work with City Hall and the Metropolitan Police Service to develop their proposals to help tackle some of the key challenges facing the city.

Two winners – one per category – will each be awarded a contract worth £40,000.

The Civic Innovation Challenge, ​developed and delivered in partnership with Social Tech Trust, with Microsoft, brings together London’s public and private sector with tech companies, which were asked to pitch new solutions to key issues facing the capital.

In addition, another 20 companies will work with Transport for London and pitch to Mayor’s Office of Los Angeles – one of London’s ‘Innovator Cities’ partners – to try to secure funding and support in developing their ideas.

Finally, in the coming months, a further six companies will be selected from a separate shortlist of 20 to work with Transport for London to receive £20,000 each to tackle road congestion caused by freight deliveries.

The eight start-ups which have been shortlisted in two categories are:

 

Making a more accessible planning system:

  • 3D Repo – bringing down the barriers to collaboration for construction professionals
  • Agile Datum – specialising in delivering cost-effective AI solutions for the public and private sectors
  • LandHawk – helping developers identify land which positively impacts the environment and enhance communities
  • The Future Fox – a platform helping planners collaborate with communities on ambitious urban schemes

 

Countering violent extremism online:

  • Data Language – experts in data-driven product innovation and mission-critical AI platforms
  • Faculty – developed and tested a new AI algorithm designed to detect and flag terrorist propaganda videos
  • Logically – a social enterprise using artificial intelligence to improve how we consume and interact with information online
  • Raven Science – an intelligent software using machine learning to find, classify, and analyse extremist videos

 

Programme Development Manager at Social Tech Trust, Anne Radl, said: “For the last three weeks, we’ve been working closely with some incredible ventures to co-develop their innovations and ensure that they’ll improve the lives of Londoners.

“Congratulations to the eight ventures moving into the final phase of the Civic Innovation Challenge. It’s our pleasure to continue working with them as they further refine their ideas.”

 

London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, said: “The Civic Innovation Challenge is a unique opportunity for tech companies to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing our capital.

“I’m really impressed with the calibre of entrants this year and the standard of competition means I’m sure we’ll see some really exciting projects taken to the next level.

“In important areas such as planning and countering extremism online, it’s only through the public and private sector working together that we’ll come up with the best ideas we need for the future.”

 

Find out more about the Civic Innovation Challenge: https://tech.london/challenges 


7th February 2020

Companies that aim to transform how we recycle, make websites more accessible for people who are Deaf, and give the public a greater say in how their towns change have joined our programme that shapes AI to tackle challenges in society.

The latest AI for Good cohort, based in London, contains 12 start-ups from across Britain who will be given access to the technology, resources and expertise that will help them develop and launch their products and solutions.

The programme is run by Microsoft and Social Tech Trust. It is open to entrepreneurs from the UK who are developing a solution that focuses on one of four areas – AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility, AI for Humanitarian Action and AI for Cultural Heritage. By helping grow innovative ideas into established companies, Microsoft and Social Tech Trust hope to create a more sustainable and accessible world.

Recycleye is among the new companies that joined the cohort. Its founder, Victor Dewulf, aims to revolutionise the recycling process – from companies creating materials, to people putting packaging in bins, through to sorting it at large waste facilities. It does this by using cameras to identify recyclable objects and what they are made of, enabling them to be automatically sorted at a waste plant.

“Our motto is that waste doesn’t exist, it’s just materials in the wrong place,” Dewulf, 23, said. “The reason a lot of materials aren’t recycled is because the cost of sorting it at plants is too expensive, and that’s because the waste industry hasn’t really changed in the past 50 years. To sort different types of recyclable material, the industry is using a lot of large and incredibly expensive sensors, which can miss some items. Using computer vision means we can use just one sensor for the whole plant that’s much more cost effective.”

Peter Hedley, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, added: “Reducing the cost of sorting suddenly makes waste valuable. When the economics reverse and companies start to make a profit from their waste stream, recycling rates will dramatically increase. That’s a true boost to the circular economy and a huge change for the environment.”

Signly is another new entrant into the cohort. The company has developed an internet browser extension that offers sign language for web pages.

For many Deaf people who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL), they consider it their first language, ahead of English. However, a lack of provisioning for deaf people online, combined with a shortage of interpreters, means BSL users are often excluded from essential content.

“If you’re Deaf and your account is overdrawn at your bank, you might have to wait weeks for an interpreter, ask friends or family who can use BSL or contact a deaf organisation to use the website and sort it out,” said Signly ambassador Tim Scannell, himself profoundly deaf since birth. “All that takes time and the overdraft is costing you money. Now, BSL users can self-serve.

“Because the tool can work on any website for any sign language, Signly helps make the online world more Deaf-friendly. As far as we know, this is a world first.”

On sites where the content owner has enabled Signly, Deaf people who want a particular web page signed can request it through the browser extension. Signly will use qualified translators to create a signed version and use Microsoft Azure cloud to upload it for use online.

“Signly provides Deaf people with more independence and gives them the ability to find out for themselves, at a time and place of their choosing, about all the stuff that everyone else knows about through the internet,” added Scannell, 41.

Meanwhile, Hello Lamp Post lets people have playful conversations with street objects such as statues, benches and post boxes via text messages or popular conversation apps. The service is launched in conjunction with local authorities, developers and construction companies, and Chief Executive and co-founder Tiernan Mines sees it as a great way to get vital feedback on issues in the community.

For example, texting a special number on a sculpture in a park may start a conversation that includes the question: “what would you change about this area?” The person may reply “more cycle parking in the city centre”, which would be directly fed back to the council.

“We want to help local authorities make better informed decisions, while giving people more of a voice in the decisions made about their community,” Mines, 30, said. “The appeal of Microsoft’s AI for Good cohort for us was that it focused on business development, improving AI capabilities and measuring social impact. If I could have chosen what the programme would look like, that was exactly a match.”

The other companies in the cohort are:

Akari – helps companies use technology to support employees as individuals

Baobab – provides legal tools that track cases, manage teams and ensure privacy and security

BeneTalk – a digital coach and tracker for fluency therapy

Chatterbox – online language learning for professionals and organisations

Good Boost – transforms public swimming pools into therapy spaces for the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions

EcoSync – cloud-based platform helping commercial buildings to stop heating empty rooms

miiCARE – specialises in the application of AI in the area of geriatrics

MyCognition – tracks, treats and prevents poor mental health through a cognitive assessment and training platform

OrxaGrid – provides accurate and secure analytics that provide efficiency improvements for energy networks

 

As well as support and technology, they will also be given space to run their business in the Microsoft for Startups office in Shoreditch.

Ed Evans, Chief Executive of Social Tech Trust, said: “The inspiring start-ups in this cohort are all driven by their vision of a better future.  We’ve developed the AI for Good Programme in partnership with Microsoft to nurture the transformative innovation that will help them realise their goals. Our four-month impact-led curriculum brings together cross-sector experts to provide these promising purpose-led tech ventures with the support they need to shape our future society.  We can’t wait to start working with them.”

Amali de Alwis, Managing Director of Startups UK at Microsoft, said: “These 12 companies are some of the brightest and most cutting-edge businesses in Britain, and I am delighted to welcome to them to our cohort. They are all aiming to make the world a better place by using technology to tackle complex problems – from accessibility and heritage to sustainability. Microsoft is keen to help them make an even bigger positive impact on the world around them, and we’re looking forward to supporting them through this exciting stage of their journey.”

The cohort starts on February 7 and runs for four months.


Twenty-three tech startups have been selected to join the Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge for 2019/2020, to develop innovative solutions to key challenges facing London.

Over 125 applications have been whittled down to a shortlist of twenty-three companies, who will work directly with Challenge Partners from the Metropolitan Police Service, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London to develop the proposal they submitted in response to three challenges:

 

> Countering violent extremism online

> Democratising planning

> More efficient freight in London

 

Companies will benefit from a five-week curriculum delivered by experts from Social Tech Trust and partners including Greater London Authority and Microsoft, to access knowledge, expertise and insights of our networks. They also get the opportunity to validate their solutions and a route to market.

 

The companies invited onto the programme to tackle the challenge of  ‘Democratising Planning’ are:

 

3D Repo LTD – Bringing down the barriers to collaboration for construction professionals.

Agile Datum – Specialising in delivering cost effective AI solutions for the public and private sector that transform your organisations and give you the competitive edge.

Bulbshare – Helping the world’s leading organisations stay ahead of the game through customer collaboration.

CycleStreets Ltd – A social enterprise, working to get more people cycling through the provision of journey planning and tools for advocacy.

Emu Analytics Limited – Creating better services, places & communities by understanding location data.

Hello Lamp Post – A communication platform that brings citizens into urban decision making. It encourages people to strike up playful, text-based conversations with street objects using their mobile phones.

LandHawk Software Services Limited – Helping land finders and property developers identify land that positively impacts our environment and enhance the communities that we live, work and play in.

Open Systems Lab – A non-profit R&D lab working on open digital innovation for industry and society, currently working to transform architecture, construction and cities.

Skyscape Technologies -Unlocking urban rooftop space to contribute to a sustainable future.

Titan Reality – Indream (the Proptech brand of Titan Reality) develops immersive spaces, technologies and infrastructures enabling businesses, property developers and organizations to design and deliver immersive customer experiences.

The Future Fox – A digital platform helping planners collaborate with communities on ambitious urban planning schemes.

Tranquil City – Exploring our relationship with tranquillity in the urban environment to promote health, wellbeing and balance.

ZEG.ai – Helping clients create 3D in the fastest way possible.

 

The companies invited onto the programme to tackle the challenge of  ‘Countering Violent Extremism Online’ are:

 

Cubica Technology – Building state of the art algorithms, real-time software, and highly specialised turn-key systems for analysing and exploiting digital media content to detect criminal behaviour, protect assets and help save lives.

Data Language -Data Language experts in data driven product innovation and mission-critical AI platforms.

Faculty Science – Developed and tested a new AI algorithm designed to detect and flag terrorist propaganda video content to stop it ever being uploaded and spread on the internet.

Groundswell Project – Initiates and assists local communities to promote harmony and challenge hate.

Krzana – An AI engine that provides access to on-the-ground reports, images and videos, local and international news and blogs, public discussion, and content shared across social media.

Logically – A  social enterprise specialising in the use of artificial intelligence to improve how we consume and interact with information online.

LocalHalo – A smart messenger for chatting with neighbours powered by alerts.

Prodikta Technologies – Using the latest technologies to interpret global crime data, combined with advanced analytics and user collaboration.

Raven Science – An intelligent software using machine learning to find, classify, and analyse extremist videos.

Renato Software – Senso. cloud is an AI driven cloud based platform for online user threat detection.

 

The finalists for the TfL challenge will be announced soon.

In February, up to 10 companies will be further shortlisted to compete for a £40,000 contract to deliver a pilot project together with their Challenge Partner.

Later in the year, three companies – one per challenge – will be awarded the £40,000 contract to test their idea further.

The second round of the Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge was launched by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in November 2019 at a reception, hosted by partners, Microsoft, at their Flagship Store on Oxford Circus.

 

Find out more about the programme at tech.london/challenges