03 Jun 2015

Four startup insights from BGV applications for Summer 2015

By Glen

The dust has settled and the coffee has grown cold and we’ve chosen our ten teams for the Summer accelerator programme – you’ll be able to find out who they are here – or, if you’re lucky, at our Summer party – on 17th June.

In the meantime we’ve been looking at the application data and we have some insights about the landscape of tech for good startups that might be of interest to some of you:

1) Application quality continues to increase, as does overall numbers

We had 150 applications this time round – triple what we had in Summer 2012 during our first open call for ideas. Some of them weren’t for us – they weren’t using tech to solve a social or environmental problem – but about 138 of them were. That’s really outstanding.
At the same time, much like six months ago, the overall quality of the applications is going up – selecting which 30 teams to interview is getting more difficult, and we’re afraid we’re going to miss out on working with some great teams. We reckon we’ll interview more teams next time round to try to overcome it.

2) Total numbers of women aren’t shifting, but we have more diverse teams

42% of teams applying had at least one woman as a team member; half of teams on the upcoming cohort will have at least one woman on their team.
24% of people listed as co-founders in all applications were women; 30% of people coming on the programme are women – this is more or less in-line with the last programme.
We’ve got an internal goal of having half women founders without sacrificing quality. We don’t screen based on gender – though if we looked up and realised we had an all-male cohort we’d probably have a conversation with ourselves about it.
The thing we’re excited about, though, is that, while our overall numbers of women aren’t necessarily going up the number of teams with women founders is – we’re having more diverse teams, and diversity is important.

3) Health start-ups (appear to be) killing it

In our minds as we went through, we remarked to each other, “Blimey, most of the good ideas are healthcare ideas.” We want diversity of industries as well as individuals – a quarter of all applications and fully 40% of the teams we interviewed were health-focussed. Four out of our ten teams we’re going to be working with this Summer are exciting healthcare startups. This compliments our existing portfolio which includes acute & ongoing care startups like Andiamo, mental health teams like Playlab, fitness & activity teams like GoodGym, and infrastructure for the industry like DrDoctor.
Healthcare is really ripe for innovation, and it’s easy to discover and see the social benefit of a new approach. That’s not to say that there’s not plenty of innovation in some other areas – we saw some really amazing new tools for teachers and communities – some of which you’re going to see on 17th June.

4) Hardware, hardware, hardware

More and more startups are using hardware to make the world a better place. There are some great uses of people repurposing existing hardware as well as building new devices. These teams are working across all of our areas.
What makes the hardware teams really stand out is when they’re creating an actual service on top of their hardware device: when they’ve thought through how the hardware will be used and how it can be developed in a lean, agile fashion.

We almost can’t wait to announce our teams this Summer – we’re excited to work with them and we hope you’ll give them a hand – or be their first customer.