New investment for Bethnal Green Ventures | Big Society Capital

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New investment for Bethnal Green Ventures

Bethnal Green Ventures celebrates 5 years of accelerating tech for good with £1.3m investment. 

This is the first time that Big Society Capital has backed an accelerator programme. Big Society Capital join BGV’s founding partners Nesta and Nominet Trust.

Since first opening applications in March 2012 BGV’s accelerator has invested £1.4m in 86 startups that use technology to address major social and environmental problems - BGV describes these as ‘tech for good’ startups.

BGV currently has 56 active tech for good startups in its portfolio, that have raised over £23m in further funding between them, and are estimated to have benefited over 6.5m people with their products and services*. Notable success stories include Fairphone, the world’s first modular sustainable mobile phone, and DrDoctor, the hospital bookings system used by over 4 million NHS patients (case studies available on request).

This new funding will be used to expand BGV’s operations, to build further partnerships and to develop later stage impact investment products for tech for good startups.

Commenting on the need to expand BGV’s current model, which combines a 12-week accelerator with £20,000 investment, BGV CEO Paul Miller said:

“We’ve proved our accelerator model works, but it’s not enough on its own. Startups require ongoing support and funding to scale up their operations, this is especially true for startups focused on social impact. Last year we expanded our offer by being able to invest up to £50,000 in great teams after the accelerator stage. This year we’re planning a fund to be able to back alumni and other tech for good ventures with next stage capital. This will help to plug a notable hole in seed-stage impact investment available to startups in the tech for good space.”

Big Society Capital is the UK’s biggest wholesale investor into impact investment.

Tom Bennett, Investment Director at Big Society Capital said:

“Bethnal Green Ventures has consistently lead the way in building early stage technology ventures that are helping to tackle some of the UK’s most challenging social problems. Big Society Capital are delighted to be able to help fund the next stage of Bethnal Green Ventures’ growth. We look forward to working with the Bethnal Green Ventures’ team to help use technology to deliver a better society.”

Nominet Trust has pioneered funding and support for tech for good ventures through its Social Tech Seed grant funding programme and campaigns such as the inspirational NT100.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said:

“By supporting entrepreneurs who are using digital technology to enable positive change, BGV is playing a crucial role in growing the UK’s tech for good ecosystem and in consolidating our country’s global reputation for creative tech for good ventures. Nominet Trust is committed to ensuring this success continues; we’re proud to have been a founding partner of BGV and are excited to announce our renewed support today. BGV is a big part of the UK’s tech for good sector and, in helping them to grow, we’re also helping the sector to go from strength to strength.”

Nesta is the UK’s Innovation Foundation and has supported Bethnal Green Ventures.

Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive said:

“Nesta is proud to have been involved with BGV from its launch. Since then 10 cohorts of socially motivated business start-ups have been supported by BGV who've shown how intensive support can help entrepreneurs turn promising ideas into credible ‘profit with purpose’ businesses.  We're now delighted to be part of their next phase, with a fantastic group of partners bringing not only money but also knowledge and networks too.” 

* reported data as at January 2017.  




Jessica Stacey, Partner, Bethnal Green Ventures


telephone: + 44 (0) 203 6700 550 / mobile: +44 (0) 7889 851214

Photos available on request

About Bethnal Green Ventures

Located in London, BGV is an accelerator programme, early stage investor and support network for ambitious tech for good startups - focusing on the sectors of health, education, sustainability and democracy. Tech for good startups can be defined as early stage for-profit businesses using technology to have a positive social or environmental impact, with an ambition to benefit millions of people.

Twice a year BGV runs its 12-week accelerator programme for a cohort of around 10 early stage tech for good startups, providing £20,000 investment in exchange for 6% equity plus access to a further £50,000, co-working space in London and intensive mentoring and support.

BGV was initially funded by the Cabinet Office Social Incubator Fund, Nominet Trust, Nesta and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Big Society Capital join Nesta and Nominet Trust in the further funding announced today.

BGV is a certified B Corp, committed to standards of social and environmental performance. BGV also runs the regular Tech for Good meetup, a community of 5000+ coders, developers and designers interested in using technology for social and environmental change. I @bg_ventures I

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About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is a financial institution with a social mission, set up to build the social investment market in the UK, so that charities and social enterprises can access appropriate repayable finance to enable them to grow, become more sustainable and increase their impact on society. It is doing this by building a diverse social investment market: encouraging investors to lend or invest money to achieve a social as well as a financial return.

Since it was set up as an independent organisation in 2012, Big Society Capital has invested, along with its co-investors, over £285 million in specialist organisations who lend to charities and social enterprises. For more information visit

About Nesta

Nesta is a global innovation foundation. It backs new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time, through its knowledge, networks, funding and skills. Nesta works in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. It is a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment. To find out more visit

Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833.

About Nominet Trust

Nominet Trust is the UK’s leading social tech funder. It provides full grant funding, mentoring and business support to organisations using the internet and digital technology to address significant social challenges including health and wellbeing, economic empowerment and sustainability. Since 2009, Nominet Trust has invested more than £25m in projects harnessing technology to deliver real social change. Through partnerships and campaigns such as the inspirational NT100, Nominet Trust mobilises new approaches that will influence and accelerate the use of tech for social good. For more information about the trust, please visit: 

Nominet Trust was founded in 2008 by Nominet. Nominet is a public benefit company, with 20 years’ experience running the .UK internet infrastructure.  Building on that expertise, Nominet is actively involved in connecting devices as well as people, helping people be safe and networks stay secure, and supporting the next generation of ideas and talent.  With the proceeds of its successful registry business, Nominet set up and funds Nominet Trust, its charitable foundation.


Last updated | 
27 March 2017