Big problems need ambitious solutions
There is no shortage of social and environmental challenges to be tackled, from the climate crisis to inclusive finance, an ageing population to education. These are big problems that need ambitious solutions.
At the same time, we live in a world where technology has advanced and proliferated at an incredible rate, demonstrating its power for change. But whether that change is for better or worse can often depend on the application and intention of the technology itself.
At Bethnal Green Ventures, we believe deeply in using tech for good. Our mission is to invest in and scale ambitious startups using tech to positively impact millions of lives. We back founders working towards three key themes: a sustainable planet, a better society, and healthy lives.
A huge market opportunity
But better solutions aren’t just good for humanity, they’re a huge and growing market opportunity too. It is estimated that £9 trillion can be unlocked each year by the businesses that ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for people and planet. Meanwhile, the impact investing market is doubling year on year.
BGV as a company
Founded in 2012 as the first early-stage fund in tech for good, BGV has been pioneering this approach for eight years. Having backed over 120 companies to date, our portfolio has gone on to raise a further £69M of investment and currently serves 8.5M users.
BGV founder and CEO Paul Miller recently received an OBE for services to startup investment and we have been named as one of the UK’s top VC firms. Both of these we see as growing wider recognition of tech for good and it’s importance.
The opportunity for investors
The Tech For Good SEIS and EIS Fund was launched by BGV in 2018 as the first of its kind in the market.
Individual professional investors are able to invest in a diversified portfolio of high growth tech for good startups, taking advantage of BGV’s established deal-flow, venture support and diversification.
Working with ventures at such early stages not only allows us to help shape and scale their commercial and impact goals, but it also means we can offer individual investors the opportunity to benefit from generous SEIS and EIS tax reliefs.
SEIS and EIS investments include upfront tax reliefs of 50% and 30%; loss relief; and exemption from capital gains tax and inheritance tax.
In 2019 we completed a record number of deals. Here are three of those exciting companies that were invested in through our Tech For Good SEIS and EIS Fund:
BGV theme: a better society
The purpose of Devie is to provide vital support to parents during the overwhelming and transformative time of their children’s early years.
Devie is a parent-support chatbot. The daily chats use behavioural insights to improve parent confidence and child development outcomes and recommends relevant research-based activities that parents can do with their children.
As an accessible development coach, Devie has the potential to alleviate a huge amount of parental stress.
BGV theme: healthy lives
Compact Cane was developed with the aim of wiping away the awkwardness of using a white cane for people with visual impairments. It works by emitting sonar signals that measure the distance between the device and surrounding objects then vibrates with an intensity that alters in accordance with the distance between the user and their surroundings. In practice, it functions a lot like a classic white cane, the difference is that Compact Cane fits neatly – almost invisibly – into the user’s hand.
Visually impaired users can then take it with them as they carry out their ordinary tasks; walking through town, getting their shopping, socialising and so on.
Compact Cane has the power to significantly improve the lives of the two million visually impaired people in the UK and approximately 285 million worldwide. Not only will it reduce the physical burden of losing one’s sight, but it can also leave open so many possibilities for a fulfilling life.
BGV themes: a sustainable planet, a better society
Lettus Grow uses cutting-edge technology for greenhouses and vertical farms. Their vision is for food production to take place in urban environments utilising vertical farming.
With a rapidly rising world population estimated to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, we have to significantly increase food production, whilst ensuring a sustainable approach to using land and resources to feed the world. To help solve this problem, LettUs Grow designed an aeroponic system, increasing crop yields by more than 70% while reducing the pressure on agricultural land and other natural resources, significantly transforming the way our food is produced.
Using their patent-pending indoor farming technology, LettUs Grow enables farmers and greenhouses to massively reduce their environmental impact throughout the supply chain and enable farming in places that couldn’t previously be farmed – from cities to deserts.
95% less water and fertiliser used than traditional farming methods
Increased growth rate of up to 70%
Zero fertile land needed Zero to use LettUs Grow systems
The Bethnal Green Ventures Tech For Good SEIS and EIS Fund 2 is not open to retail investors. It is only available to professional investors who have certified as a ‘high net worth investor’ or a ‘sophisticated investor’ in accordance with the rules contained in the FCA Handbook of Rules and Guidance.
The fund closes for investments on 3rd April 2020, so to find out more about investing through BGV to help fund more impactful tech for good startups and benefiting from the attractive tax reliefs available, visit their page on the Ethex website.
Please note that your capital is at risk.