UK tech startups doing social good are worth £2.3bn and have raised over £1bn in VC funding

Britain has become a global leader when it comes to launching tech companies tackling the challenges in the healthcare, finance and education sector, according to new research from Tech Nation

UK tech startups doing social good are worth £2.3bn and have raised over £1bn in VC funding

The UK tech sector is booming. Despite doubts about its future, investors are still seeing the potential in Britain’s tech ecosystem.  While tech startups in all sectors are attracting VCs, those contributing to a social cause through their technology in particular are on the rise, according to new research from Tech Nation, the digital tech network. 

The report revealed that socially responsible British tech startups were worth £2.3bn in 2018 with a turnover of £732m – higher than the amount generated by manufacturing of consumer electronics at £634m. Furthermore, the for-profit tech for good companies raised over £1bn in VC funding and entrepreneurs were making strides in sectors from edtech and healthtech to fintech and foodtech.

It also said that these social tech businesses which had a positive impact on society were making financial gains. For instance, DeepMind, the for-profit social tech company which uses AI to solve healthcare issues, was bought by Google for £650m in 2014 and has been scaling since.  Other similar successful examples include Shift8*, the startup helping dementia patients to lead a better life, Bulb, the renewable electricity supplier and Sweatcoin, which pays users according to the number of steps they take. 

Additionally, the UK government is being increasingly supportive to social tech startups. The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has partnered with the Social Tech Trust, the investor of tech for good businesses, to make it easier for startups to access money with a fund up to £30m and a further £1m to be used by tech startups which help combat loneliness and unite communities. 

Commenting on the research, Gerard Grech, CEO at Tech Nation, said: “We are witnessing a new driver in tech startups. While the profit motive remains high, millennials are increasingly driven by the desire to make a meaningful impact on society. Harnessing the huge potential of tech allows us to really think big. We can have both economic growth as well as positively impacting society and the environment.”

Sarah Wood, co-founder of Unruly, board member at Tech Nation and former Elite Business cover star, added: “At a time of uncertainty and flux, the UK is poised to lead the world in applying technology for strategic social ends. Our nation’s social safety net, coupled with a lively non-profit sector and bustling tech ecosystem, allow for a concentration of energy and talent that’s second-to-none. We have all the foundational pillars we need to be the global hub for tech-for-good; now we need to keep up the momentum and make sure we nurture these businesses as they expand their horizons beyond our shores.”

With business bosses becoming more ethically aware, we’re sure to say that tech startups supporting social causes will only prosper. And, to make your startup more sustainable and long-term it’s increasingly important to use tech for the greater good. 

Louisa Cook
Louisa Cook

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