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Bethnal Green Ventures announces £33 million first close of new fund to back 100 tech for good startups

Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV), the pioneering ‘tech for good’ venture capital firm, has announced the first close of its latest fund, which is set to continue its track record of investing in technology for good. To date, a total of £33 million has been committed to the fund by investors including the British Business Bank, through its Enterprise Capital Funds programme, M&G Catalyst, Big Society Capital and Peter Bristot, Managing Director of 22 Ventures.

Established in 2006, the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme aims to increase the supply of equity capital to high-potential, early-stage UK companies by supporting new and emerging VC fund managers who target the early-stage equity gap.

BGV will use the capital to back one hundred new ventures over the next four years through their Tech for Good Programme. Applications are now open. Each venture selected for the programme will receive a £60,000 investment for 7% equity. BGV will then make follow-on investments into the most promising ventures that complete the programme.

BGV has been at the forefront of supporting innovative startups that address pressing global challenges for the past decade. It has backed 177 ventures through its highly regarded Tech for Good Programme and helped create the tech for good movement in the UK through a series of ‘firsts’ including becoming the first UK VC firm to certify as a B Corp in 2015.

BGV’s impressive portfolio of companies have consistently made a positive impact on society and the environment, demonstrating the incredible potential of technology to drive positive change as well as deliver returns to investors. Successful exits include science collaboration platform Overleaf and ethical smartphone company Fairphone.

Existing portfolio companies from previous funds include:

  • LettUs Grow, a Bristol based BCorp delivering patent-protected aeroponic technology to boost the productivity and sustainability of commercial greenhouses and indoor farms. Their technology offers significantly lower water and energy use than existing indoor farming methods. Founded by Charlie Guy, Jack Farmer and Ben Crowther who met at Bristol university, the company has gone on to raise investment from Longwall, Parkwalk and Blue Horizon and is now focused on scaling their technology in the UK and Europe.
  • Noggin is an industry-first price comparison platform designed to facilitate fairer access to credit for the 9 million UK adults facing exclusion due to a lack of credit history data. Founded by Evangeline Atkinson and Laura Mills, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based company has been accepted to the FCA’s Regulatory Sandbox and recently closed a pre-seed investment round.
  • Aparito, with their data platform Atom5™ supports drug development and clinical trials by using video based assessments and wearable technology to gather patient-generated data outside of hospitals. Founded by Elin Haf Davies, a former nurse at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and regulator at the European Medicine Agency, the Wrexham based business has raised capital from the Development Bank of Wales and via WealthClub investors.

The BGV team, led by Managing Partners Melanie Hayes and Paul Miller has one of the strongest records on diversity and inclusion in European venture capital. For the last three years BGV has been the top ranking UK firm for their efforts in diversity & inclusion in the global Inclusive PE & VC Index. This fund aims to make at least half the investments into ventures founded by women.

This latest fund, the largest in BGV’s history, will enable the firm to make more significant follow-on investments into portfolio companies at pre-seed and seed stage. While impact investing has grown considerably over the past decade, there is still a funding gap for startups at this stage.

Bethnal Green Ventures is now inviting founders to apply for funding. The deadline for applications for their Spring 2024 Programme is 7th January 2024.

www.bethnalgreenventures.com/apply

Quotes

Managing Partner of Bethnal Green Ventures, Melanie Hayes said:

We firmly believe the companies at the top of the FTSE and the Nasdaq in 10 to 20 years time will be those that can demonstrate their positive social and environmental impact as well as their financial success. It’s our job to find and support those companies when they’re just starting out.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, British Business Bank said:

The British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme is key in helping to develop and maintain effective venture capital provision in the UK, lowering the barriers to entry for emerging fund managers. The programme has backed 44 funds, representing more than £2 billion of finance. Our commitment to Bethnal Green Ventures builds on that success and introduces a new funding option for pre-seed and seed stage technology businesses across the UK that use technology to solve pressing social and environmental issues.

Rana Modarres, Impact Director, M&G Catalyst said:

The UK is a rich source of technologies and talent that can meet the demands of emerging and underserved markets, by using tech for good to accelerate solutions for complex social and environmental challenges. Our investment will help to finance at least 50 female entrepreneurs in the UK – we are excited to support BGV in their second fund as they continue to invest in diverse founders using technology to create positive impact at scale.

Josh Smith, Venture Investment Manager, Big Society Capital said:

We’re excited to see the continued growth of Bethnal Green Ventures who have been industry leaders in supporting tech startups that are tackling the biggest issues we face in society today including health, education and financial inclusion.

Tech for good startups can be transformative in the right context, with the right intent, and with a business model aligned to impact. BGV are a trailblazer in developing and applying impact practice, and they’ve continued to push the boundaries with their work to measure and then take action to improve the diversity and equity of their investment portfolio. We look forward to continuing our partnership, building best practice in impact ventures and supporting impact startups to scale and improve lives.

Notes to editors

Media Contact:

Paul Miller, Managing Partner
Email: paul@bethnalgreenventures.com
Phone: +44 (0) 7974 962 414

About Bethnal Green Ventures

Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV) is Europe’s leading tech for good VC firm. Founded in 2012, BGV has a strong track record of backing innovative companies that use technology to address social and environmental challenges.

BGV’s Tech for Good Programme provides founders with everything they need to get started. Each venture selected for the programme receives £60,000 in return for 7% equity as well as access to mentorship, learning resources and a community of like-minded founders.

BGV’s record on diversity and inclusion is available here.

Media kit including logos and photos is available here.

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support over £12.4bn[1] of finance to more than 90,000 smaller businesses[2]. As well as increasing the supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success.

The British Business Bank is also responsible for administering the government’s three Coronavirus loan schemes and its Future Fund, together responsible for delivering £80.4bn in finance to 1.67m businesses. These schemes are now closed to new applications.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. Wholly owned by HM government, the Bank and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at www.british-business-bank.co.uk.

The transaction described above does not constitute or imply any endorsement, warranty or recommendation by the UK government, the British Business Bank plc, its subsidiaries or any other party of Bethnal Green Ventures or its products or services

The British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds (ECFs) are administered by British Business Finance Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Business Bank. The Funds are managed by experienced managers from a variety of backgrounds – including teams from the venture capital industry as well as entrepreneurs with a history of success in building early-stage UK companies.

ECFs are commercially focused funds that bring together private and public money to make equity investments in high growth businesses. The Bank’s rolling investment programme of commitments to new ECFs is a competitive process, with typically two to three investments made per year. The BGV II LP is the 44th ECF in the programme.

About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is the UK’s leading social impact-led investor. Its mission is to grow the amount of money invested in tackling social issues and inequalities in the UK.

It does this by investing and enabling others to invest for impact too. Since 2012, they have helped the social impact investment market grow tenfold to nearly £8bn. This capital has financed social purpose organisations tackling everything from homelessness to mental health and fuel poverty.

Disclaimer

BGV Investment Management Limited is an appointed representative of Midmar Capital LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, in respect of UK investment advisory or arranging activities. BGV II is an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) managed by Midmar Capital LLP and to which BGV Investment Management Limited acts as the fund advisor.

[1] Figures as at end March 2023

[2] Figures as at end March 2023