How to avoid building a biased AI
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Today we have opened applications for its seven prestigious growth stage and sector programmes: Upscale, Future Fifty, Libra, Applied AI, Fintech, Net Zero and, for the first time ever, Net Zero X.
These free, government-backed programmes are designed to help scaling companies from all UK regions to overcome common growth challenges and scale faster by providing them with expert coaching, peer-to-peer learning and extensive networking opportunities.
We are actively seeking to support a diverse range of ambitious firms – across region, gender and ethnicity – to ensure that anyone with an idea and drive in the UK can be supported to succeed.
|Stage / Investment||Sector / market||Other criteria||UK-relevance|
|Net Zero||Grant funding or investment from Seed to pre-Series A (under £10m) OR have annual revenues below £1.5m||Digital tech business contributing to emissions reduction||Product developed beyond MVP|
Able to demonstrate some market traction
|HQ in UK|
|Fintech||At the equivalent of Seed to Series A funding stage OR if self-funded, have annual revenues between £100k min and £1.5m max||Fintech or Insurtech||Company more than 1 year old|
Open to B2C, B2B and B2B2C
|Applied AI||Grant funding or investment from Seed to pre-Series A (under £10m) OR have annual revenues below £1.5m||Artificial Intelligence at core of value proposition and product||Attention paid to ethical considerations of AI|
|Libra||Seed to Series A funding stage (under £10m raised) OR self-funded with annual revenue below £1.5m||Must have at least one (self-identified) ethnic minority person in the founding team from the following ethnic minorities:|
Black, South Asian, East Asian or Arab. The founder can be multiracial as long as this includes the ethnic minorities specified above.
Able to demonstrate market traction.
Have at least one active client or pilot
Have ambition to scale
|Upscale||VC backed, having raised Series A round OR revenue-focused and generating £1.5m – £5m|
Growing at a rate of approx. 10% month-on-month (this can be revenue, headcount, users or any other primary growth metric)
|Looking to significantly increase its team|
Thinking about expanding its customer base or market share
Aspirations for substantial national or international growth
|Net Zero X||Have grant funding or investment between Series A and pre-IPO||Digital tech business contributing to emissions reduction|
|Future Fifty||Series B+ funding stage|
OR If revenue-focused, generating annual revenues over £5m
|Achieving 50% year-on-year growth|
Attending a Tech Nation growth programme puts companies in the best possible position to succeed and grow at exceptional rates.
In total, we have already supported 1,010 companies to thrive through our growth programmes since they began in 2014. These companies have collectively raised over $237 billion in investment to date. The average length of time it takes for a company joining one of Tech Nation’s programmes to receive investment is six months (182 days), demonstrating the strength of the programme’s insights, coaching and networks to accelerate the growth of the UK scaleups.
To date, Tech Nation has supported 37 tech ‘unicorns’ (companies with valuations of $1bn+) through its growth programmes – this represents 30% of the UK’s total number of tech ‘unicorns’ (122). Tech Nation has also supported 42% of the UK’s 12 tech ‘decacorns’ (companies with valuations of $10bn+). These include eToro, Deliveroo, Checkout.com, Blockchain and Revolut.
Companies accepted into Tech Nation programmes represent the best of UK tech, with 46% coming from outside of London. Tech companies who have been through Tech Nation’s growth programmes include Skyscanner (from Edinburgh), Darktrace (from Cambridge) and Monzo (from London), who have received a combined £1.4bn in investment to date, demonstrating the potential of tech scaleups accepted into these programmes to become the UK’s most valuable tech companies – and the jobs and capital they have the potential to create across the UK.
Following the launch of Tech Nation’s Net Zero growth programme for early-stage climate tech scaleups in 2020, Tech Nation is expanding its offering for climate tech companies by launching a new growth programme for later-stage climate tech scaleups; Net Zero X. With only 25% of total funding raised in climate tech being channelled into the technologies that hold 81% of the total Emissions Reduction Potential (ERP), Net Zero X aims to help accelerate the UK’s goal to drive down global emissions and ‘futureproof’ the climate tech industry, by reducing this carbon funding gap, countering the climate tech ‘valley of death,’ and supporting the UK’s most promising climate tech companies to scale and influence policy and the investment landscape.
Tech Nation is also on a mission to improve diversity and inclusion in the UK tech sector. Last year, Tech Nation debuted their Libra growth programme to support underrepresented founders and combat racial diversity challenges, after data from the Tech Nation Report 2021 revealed that only 0.24% of the 1.7% of UK VC investment invested in ethnic minority founders in 2020 had gone to Black entrepreneurs. Following the launch of the first Libra programme, several of the companies in the first Libra cohort have raised Seed funding already (including Framework, who raised over $2mn in seed funding this year). In 2022, Tech Nation is expanding their Libra offering, with the second iteration not focussing exclusively on founders who self-identify as Black or Multiracial but also including other underrepresented ethnicities.
Companies that are chosen to join the six-month programmes will benefit from over 60 hours of support, including access to tailored coaching sessions with industry experts, and extensive networking opportunities.
Applications for all of the growth programmes open today (Monday 16th May) and will close on the 28th June. Check your eligibility and apply here. Successful applicants will be notified in June and onboarded in August. The programmes will commence in September.
We would like to thank our programme partners for sponsoring this year’s growth stage and sector programmes:
Upscale 8.0 – Cooley and Cooper Parry
Future Fifty 11.0 – HSBC and Smith & Williamson (soon to be Evelyn & Partners)
Libra 2.0 – Cooley
Fintech 5.0 – Cooper Parry
Applied AI 4.0 – Cooper Parry
Net Zero 3.0 – BNP Paribas
Net Zero X 1.0 – PwC