06 May 2020

Let’s rebuild, but better: Tech for Good for a post-COVID-19 world

By Will Spurr

We’re opening applications for our Autumn 2020 programme on May 13th, where we’ll be offering investment and support for amazing tech for good startups. We believe that tech for good is more relevant than ever. Ahead of our last call for applications, we set out 20 Tech for Good Themes for 2020, now is a chance to take stock of how the tumultuous start to the year has made some of these themes more relevant than ever.

The crisis has changed how we work, shop, govern and relate to one another. This is a moment of opportunity to create the products and services that will guide this change to positively impact people and planet. We know that the impact of COVID-19 will have motivated several ambitious founders to be part of this change, and we are excited to see new ideas coming forth in our applications. 

In every case, we’re looking for technology businesses that we believe could benefit the lives of millions of people and/or protect the planet and grow to have an enterprise value of over £100 million. It’s imperative that the positive social or environmental impact of the startup is intentional and measurable.

Here are nine priority areas that we think will be important for rebuilding a better post-pandemic society.

 

  1. Make health or care more accessible – health inequality is on the rise, laid bare by the unequal impact of the coronavirus. We’re interested in tech that can help reduce the costs and widen access to health and care services.
  2. The climate emergency – once the virus threat subsides, the climate crisis will still be there. Your solution could boost renewables, cut emissions, or set a pathway to smarter consumption.
  3. WorkerTech – the virus has changed the way we work, perhaps forever. There are new threats from dangerous workplaces, employee surveillance and job precarity. We’re looking for tools and services to improve the livelihoods and opportunities of low-income or insecure workers.
  4. Food security – COVID-19 put global food supply chains under immense strain. Can you help develop sustainable technologies that will guarantee enough nutritious food for a growing population?
  5. Preventative health care – the virus has brought to light the importance of underlying general health, we believe that stopping people falling into ill health through improving diet, exercise and sleep is the most effective way to help people live healthier, happier and longer lives.
  6. Air pollution – Clean air in Europe during lockdown led to 11,000 fewer deaths. It shouldn’t take a complete shutdown to have better air quality. Do you have long-term solutions to reduce the adverse health effects of air pollution?
  7. Better mental health – awareness of the problems associated with mental health has grown over the last decade, but the crisis continues to deepen, and people are facing a new wave of challenges as a result of the lockdown restrictions. Do you have a solution to tackle this growing issue?
  8. New forms of collective action – the pandemic has spawned new forms of activism and community engagement. Can you help build new forms of collective action that help everyone have a voice and influence? Do you have a tech solution to boost transparency, democracy and citizen power?
  9. Biodiversity – we’ve seen how, given the smallest chance, nature can bounce back. However, ecosystems are still in dangerous decline. Do you have an idea that will reinvigorate and reinforce biodiversity?

 

There is no better time to build game-changing tech for good companies. We’re excited by the potential of diverse founders to contribute to a sustainable planet, better society and healthy lives. So get in touch, if you’d like to be notified when we open our call for applications next week.