Tech Nation selects 35 scaleups to join support programme for UK tech founders – Business Leader

Sep 14, 2022
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James Cook
September 14, 2022
Tech Nation, the UK growth platform for tech scaleups, recently announced the 35 tech startups with Black, South Asian, East Asian or Arab founders who have been accepted into Libra 2.0, the second iteration of the Libra programme for ethnically underrepresented tech founders in the UK.
Companies accepted into the newest Libra programme are working to transform multiple sectors, from finance, healthcare and clean technology to education and HR. This includes innovative companies who are creating technology to help growing diverse communities save money for the future (Bloom Money), working to end period pain for women (Hormonious Flo), and turning under-used nutritious plants from the forest in Central America into novel, carbon-negative superfoods (Tierra Foods).
This year, 40% of the new cohort companies are based outside of London – including companies from Scotland (such as Cyberodane), the North West (such as Dicey Tech), the East of England (such as Swapped) and the West Midlands (such as &facts). On top of this regional diversity, 63% of the companies have female founders, and collectively the companies operate in over 17 different countries (including the UK).
The six-month government-backed Libra programme was created to tackle the racial diversity challenges that exist in UK tech. Last year, Extend Ventures reported that between 2009 and 2019, three-quarters of VC investment went to all-white founding teams, while under a quarter (23%) went to multi-racial founding teams, and just 0.24% went to all-Black founding teams.
By supporting ethnically underrepresented tech leaders based in the UK (who are growing and scaling despite VC funding challenges), Libra aims to strengthen the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business – for everyone.
While the inaugural Libra programme focussed on improving the Black founder experience, Libra 2.0 will focus on companies with at least one ethnic minority founder with lived experience of little or no access to capital, networking and commercial opportunities, to help them access equal opportunities and accelerate their scaling journey.
Libra 2.0 follows on from the success of the Libra 1.0 programme, which saw two Black-founded startup companies (edtech company Framework and HRtech company Flair) raise Seed funding within their first few months of joining the programme, and six companies (Boxx, Compare Ethics, Eccobell, Framework, Ruka and Owni) awarded the Black Fund Grant by Google for Startups.
Tech Nation is delighted to be partnering with Cooley once again to deliver this year’s Libra 2.0 programme.
Chris Coulter, a London-based Cooley partner and member of the firm’s diversity committee, said: “We were hugely impressed by the first cohort of businesses in Libra’s inaugural programme for underrepresented founders, and we are excited by the second group about to start this month.
“The quality of ideas and level of entrepreneurship we have seen are testament to the huge contribution to be made by the UK’s leading ethnic minority founders. We are proud to play a part in these startups’ journeys and to support the ongoing mission of Libra.”
Abi Mohamed, Libra Programme Lead at Tech Nation, said: “After the success of the inaugural Libra programme last year, I’m delighted to welcome a new cohort of inspiring companies to the table.
“These companies are working across a wide range of sectors – from finance and ecommerce to education and healthcare – but what they have in common is enormous potential and drive, and the right to be given equal opportunities to grow and scale. I can’t wait to help another pool of inspiring underrepresented founders break through the glass ceiling and achieve the success they deserve.”
Olivia Sibony, CEO and Co-founder of SeedTribe and Libra 2.0 judge, said: “In a world of unprecedented change, we can no longer operate with the ways of the old world. Never has diversity been so important for our society, and it was an honour and inspiration to be the judge for such fantastic entrepreneurs leading such innovative, game-changing businesses.”
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