Milly Shotter, Partner and Brand and Communications Manager at Bethnal Green Ventures
Has the variety of businesses with social impact increased after the last year? If yes - in which sectors and what trends do you observe?
At BGV we saw a notable increase in the number of founders pitching us tech for good businesses in the last year. For our most recent programme, we received the highest number of applications than ever before for our investment and support. The investment theme we received the highest number of applications for was 'a better society' - I think the pandemic really shone a light on, and exacerbated, the existing social inequalities and spurred people into action to try and tackle the many different ways this manifests - from education to employment opportunities.
Is social entrepreneurship attracting more money and attention from VCs?
Absolutely. HealthTech is a great example of this as a high growth vertical that many mainstreams and more 'traditional' VCs are investing in. The likes of climate tech and a fairer future of work are following. Anecdotally, at BGV, we've seen a number of our portfolio companies raising seed and Series A rounds led by non-impact specific investors.
What are you looking for in a startup to invest in its business?
We are looking to back ambitious founders building businesses using tech to drive positive impact at scale. Products and services must be developed with the specific intention of creating positive social or environmental impact. No matter the sector, ventures should always be working towards narrowing the gap of inequality, this often means focusing on those that are underserved and underrepresented.
When will your next investment program be and what could the entrepreneurs expect from it?
Our next programme will be Autumn 2021 - we'll be opening up our call for ideas in May. Successful applicants can expect an initial investment of £30k in exchange for 7% equity and a tailored three-month programme of workshops, talks and 1:1 mentoring designed to help entrepreneurs launch and scale tech for a good startup. Founders also get venture life-long support and the opportunity for follow-on funding from BGV. They also join an amazing community of another tech for good founders which is invaluable for peer-to-peer support. We also make regular introductions between our portfolio and our network of mentors, advisors and investors.