History

Our story started in 2008, when we held our first Social Innovation Camp bringing together people who were at the sharp end of problems in healthcare, education and sustainability with developers, designers and others who wanted to make a difference.

A hundred people showed up for the weekend to work on the six projects we’d chosen, including some of the most talented software engineers and designers in the UK. The event was such a success that we ran five more in the UK and helped people run similar events in 25 other countries.

We’d accidentally created an incredible community of people interested in tech for good. But there was always a question at the end of the weekend:

“How do I quit my job and turn this into a startup?”

At the same time we were learning about the (then tiny) phenomenon of accelerator programmes in the US for a report that became The Startup Factories. We put two and two together – the Social Innovation Camp community and what we learned about the accelerator model – and created Europe’s first ‘tech for good’ accelerator programme. We named it after the place we were based at the time – Bethnal Green.

In 2012 we turned the prototype into a full programme and incorporated as Bethnal Green Ventures LLP with investment from Nesta and Google who offeredlent us a floor of the newly opened Campus in Shoreditch. We invested in six social ventures, three of which (Fairphone, DrDoctor and Mastodon C) have gone on to be thriving, scaling, impactful businesses with revenues and numbers of beneficiaries in the millions.

Then in 2013 the UK Government created the Social Incubator Fund and, applying in partnership with Nesta and Nominet Trust, we were one of the first programmes to be awarded funding. In 2017 we were delighted that Big Society Capital joined Nesta and Nominet Trust to back us to grow beyond the accelerator programme to offer advice, support and further investment to alumni teams.

And we’re just getting started.

We believe that there is huge potential for technology to have a positive impact on the world and that we can build a fantastic investment firm to back ventures that will deliver on that potential.

Our aim is to be the world’s best source of inspiration, funding and support for founders building technology ventures that will improve billions of lives.

Find out more about our investment approach.