London-based Zinc, a company builder that helps tech entrepreneurs tackle social issues, has raised more than £3 million from Atomico, LocalGlobe, LSE, and several angel investors including Martin Leuw and Michael Norton.
Zinc's programme (broken down into "missions") takes 50 entrepreneurs at a time and matches them with experts in social science, technology, design and business, to help them to build new enterprises focused on solving deep-seated social problems.
The seed funding comes as Zinc finishes its first mission, which created 17 companies committed to resolving problems related to women's mental and emotional health.
“We need more tech entrepreneurs to focus on the big social challenges that we face across the world," said Niklas Zennstrom, CEO of Atomico. "Zinc has the expertise and partnerships to lead the way, not only in Europe but across the developed world.
“Zinc has got off to a great start with some really exciting companies emerging from its first mission. To have an impact on society’s deepest challenges, we need to bring together entrepreneurial talent and capital," added Suzanne Ashman Blair, partner at LocalGlobe. "Zinc has demonstrated that its approach to addressing social problems through technology is a powerful combination.”
The new funding will allow Zinc to begin planning future missions. Its next mission will be focused on helping communities affected by automation and globalisation.
“There is an urgent need for more and better solutions to help people and places adapt to economic change," said Paul Kirby, chief executive and co-founder of Zinc. "Solutions are needed to help those who are still suffering from the legacy of shifts that started in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as those affected by the coming waves of change that new technologies and global competition could bring.”
The new mission will start on October 1st 2018 and is open to 50 entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world, who can apply for the programme at www.zinc.vc/apply until July 9th.