Supporting underrepresented
tech leaders

What is Libra

Libra will be a springboard for existing underrepresented founders based in the UK who are growing and scaling despite market failure. The inaugural programme will focus on the Black founder experience, helping them navigate the scaling journey. The programme’s main aim is to level the playing field for excellent Black founders to scale to their fullest potential.

The free, non-residential, six-month programme is centred around themed insights sessions, delivered by some of the most established entrepreneurs, covering topics such as raising series A, selling into corporates, scaling your operations and expanding internationally. The programme will have a focus on peer-to-peer learning and the cohort companies sharing the challenges in their own individual journeys. The cohort will also be introduced to key stakeholders and decision-makers within corporates, investment firms, government bodies and others during networking events. Additionally, the Libra programme offers access to the cross-programme sessions hosted by Tech Nation sector programmes focused on Fintech and Applied AI and Net-Zero.

Libra currently is currently not accepting applications, but to register interest in the programme you can email Libra Programme Lead, Abi Mohamed at abimohamed@technation.io.

Introducing our very first Libra 1.0 cohort!

Tech Nation is delighted to introduce the inaugural Libra 1.0 programme cohort. Our very first cohort brings with it a high calibre of startups in various sectors such as edtech, data analytics & business intelligence, health tech, smart cities and more. Read more about Libra 1.0.  

  • Air Maths Tuition Limited

    Air Maths Tuition Limited logo

    @air_maths

    Air Math Tuition is an online maths education platform, curating personalised learning materials and tutoring services for GCSE and A-level students. It aims to democratise education with the power of machine learning, providing a personalised learning journey with minimal human involvement to drive costs down and make top-quality tutoring affordable to less privileged students. The company also aims to level the playing field for learning maths and mitigate elitism in the UK education system.

    https://airmathstuition.com/

  • Baselime

    Baselime logo

    @baselimeHQ

    Baselime makes it easy to identify and troubleshoot defects in serverless architectures. With Baselime's tools, identifying bottlenecks and resolving incidents is painless, and IT teams can Ssop aimlessly firefighting when there's an outage.

    https://baselime.io/

  • Boxx

    Boxx logo

    Boxx is a boxing-inspired fitness brand with both a digital content platform and a physical studio. The company is currently developing 'the peloton of boxing', a connected product designed to blend in beautifully at home.

    http://www.boxxldn.com

  • Brijj Limited

    Brijj Limited logo

    @brijjpm

    Brijj is a project management tool built for data and analytics teams to collaborate with their stakeholders so they can deliver high-quality, actionable insights, together.

    http://www.brijj.io

  • Chanodil

    Chanodil logo

    @chanodil

    Chanodil is an automated sourcing platform that helps brands build faster, leaner and more responsible supply chains. Its mission is to create the world’s most trusted supply chains, offer the most responsible and innovative sourcing solutions and provide the most seamless experience for both brands and manufacturers. Through the platform, brands are matched with the required suppliers for their business and can then use the platform to communicate, share tech packs, receive quotes, request samples and manage production from design all the way to delivery - all from one dashboard while tracking all the actions in the supply chain. 

    https://chanodil.com/

  • Compare Ethics

    Compare Ethics logo

    @compareethics

    Compare Ethics verifies businesses' sustainability credentials using patent-pending technology and ensures clear returns on investment for businesses increasing their sustainability standards. For consumers, it provides a trusted source of sustainability information. 

    https://compareethics.com/

  • Disrupting Beauty Limited trading as Beautonomy

    Disrupting Beauty Limited trading as Beautonomy logo

    @beautonomy

    Beautonomy is a marketplace where beauty content creators can monetise their expertise with customisable products creators can design and promote, helping them to monetise their social media channels.

    http://beautonomy.com

  • Eccobell Limited

    Eccobell Limited logo

    @Eccobell_app

    Eccobell is a "contactless as a service" provider, building an ecosystem of on-demand web applications using contactless technology to innovate how people access, communicate and interact with each other. The first product in the ecosystem is a "video doorbell as a service" for houses, apartments and commercial buildings, enabling anyone, anywhere to communicate with guests at just a tap. The product replaces redundant intercom systems allowing visitors to simply scan a display code outside an entrance to talk directly with residents wherever they are on any smart device or mobile.

    http://www.eccobell.com

  • Finders Force

    Finders Force logo

    @FindersForce

    Finders Force provides shift-booking software to connect, hire and interact with agency staff across the entire traffic management industry. The platform connects depots with quality operatives using artificial intelligence and is designed for systemising the hiring of operatives, monitoring performance stats and automating every component of staff management.

    http://www.findersforce.com

  • Flair Impact

    Flair Impact logo

    @flairimpact

    Flair Impact is a people analytics company with a survey-based product that helps organisations measure and build anti-racist cultures. Flair Impact's mission is to create a world in which all ethnicities can thrive. 

    http://www.flairimpact.com

  • Framework

    Framework logo

    @use_framework

    Framework is the world's first on-demand business school, especially made for the people building the businesses of the future. After successfully launching Founders Academy - a 9-month alternative MBA programme for startup joiners in partnership with Founders Forum - Framework is now productising their curriculum into a mobile learning experience that can scale globally.

    http://useframework.com

  • happaning

    happaning logo

    @@thehappaningapp

    Happaning's service is like Google street view, but with video. Happaning lets you watch an event from any perspective, at any time and from anywhere in one immersive, navigatable experience.

    https://www.happaning.com

  • Herby Box

    Herby Box logo

    @@herbybox

    Herbybox is a direct-to-consumer luxury herbal tea brand, with natural benefits. The company is at the intersection of herbal tea and the supplement world, offering tea that is more than just tea. Herbybox is now stocked in Selfridges.

    http://www.herbybox.com

  • Hutano Diagnostics ltd

    Hutano Diagnostics ltd logo

    During the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, Zimbabwe-born founder and CEO Atherton Mutombwera was shocked to learn how many deaths could have been prevented through wider availability of diagnostics, and that across the African continent there were only 14 centralised laboratories that could diagnose Ebola, the lack of which contributed to the 70% fatality rate. In response, Hutano Diagnostics is developing a modular configurable Lateral Flow Device (LFD) platform. This platform is modular and configurable for either single disease, or simultaneous multiple disease diagnosis, on the same LFD strip. Once developed, the platform reduces the time to LFD development in preparation for future specific disease outbreaks from 2 years to 6 months.

    https://www.linkedin.com/company/hutano-diagnostics/?viewAsMember=true

  • ICI CARE

    ICI CARE logo

    @ici_care

    ICI CARE is building machine-learning software to create personalised haircare products with natural raw ingredients.
    It uses plastic-free packaging, building a company that will benefit the community.

    http://icicare.co.uk

  • Jobseekrs Limited

    Jobseekrs Limited logo

    @jobseekrsapp

    Jobseekrs is the world’s first video interactive job site that mitigates bias at the screening and sourcing stages of the hiring process with a particular focus on screening for culture fit and matching for company culture-add through a series of psychometric-type questions.The company's mission is to become the primary and most unbiased job-search and matching engine on the internet while ensuring that everyone is better engaged with and has more equal chances at all job opportunities. It also aims to further scale the platform to use cognitive data and AI to help make hiring more predictive and even less biased.

    https://jobseekrs.co.uk/

  • Loopcycle

    Loopcycle logo

    @Loopcycle_

    Loopcycle is a product traceability platform redefining the management, recovery and resale of valuable secondary products. Loopcycle aims at revolutionising the way that businesses manage, recover and resell their physical assets, driving integrity within the reuse marketplace. By embedding a unique product ID, called ‘Cyclecode’, the platform facilitates whole product lifecycle visibility and direct interactions between manufacturers and end-users where intermediaries control product distribution. Loopcycle is helping businesses to deliver the net-zero carbon target and move towards a circular economy while maximising their commercial value.

    http://www.loopcycle.io

  • NxSteps Group Ltd

    NxSteps Group Ltd logo

    @nxsteps_uk

    NxSteps is a digital healthcare solutions company focused on maximising human performance through the knowledge of biomechanics. It operates a blended economic model of both traditional product revenue and SaaS-based app-delivered technology. Its IoT-powered wearable smart insole, application and AI voice coach aids professional and everyday athletes to achieve their health and fitness goals by optimising performance whilst preventing injuries in an objective, understandable, actionable and repeatable way to ensure physical longevity.

    http://www.nxsteps.co.uk

  • Optimum Health Ltd

    Optimum Health Ltd logo

    @Kami_Coach_

    Optimum Health has developed Kami, a parental wellbeing data company building a first-to-market emotion detection and digital support system solution for working parents. It has secured grant funding from Innovate UK and investment from Google, signed two pilot partners, built a 20+ client pipeline and established a distribution partnership with a group of day nurseries. it is now advancing to market with the beta product. 

    https://www.usekami.com

  • Ruka Hair Ltd

    Ruka Hair Ltd logo

    @rukahair

    Ruka Hair's vision is to become the definitive hair brand for black women, globally. Ruka started the journey with extensions, combining a conscious, digital-first brand and community with a product refined through a scientific and user-led approach. Beyond providing textures that truly match Black women's hair textures, Ruka is completely reshaping the experience through the personalisation in the RUKA quiz, helping people texture match and find the right extensions for them. 

    http://www.rukahair.com

  • ScreenHits TV

    ScreenHits TV logo

    @ScreenHits

    ScreenHits TV is a streaming video aggregator app that provides audiences with a single place to stream across their new and existing services. ScreenHits TV is addressing the current fragmentation and subscription fatigue challenges in this new and exciting world of app TV. It creates a one-stop guide to search libraries across platforms and live online TV without switching platforms or signing up for new services. The service is particularly relevant given that 2020 was the year when global subscriptions for streaming services passed 1 billion.

    https://screenhitstv.com/LandingPage/LandingPage?ReturnUrl=%2F

  • Shwap

    Shwap logo

    Shwap is a software solution to help fashion, homeware and lifestyle retailers monetise the secondary market of their products, and earn revenue from products they’ve already sold. Shwap's technology leverages peer-to-peer resale in order to give the UK’s 200,000 retailers a means to monetise the secondary market of their products without incurring operational costs. Shwap developed software that retailers can integrate into the e-commerce stores, or point-of-sale systems that enables Shwap to identify and then manage the lifecycle of products as they move between different owners. Using this software Shwap has created a frictionless resale platform that creates products listings in real time as users shop. 

    https://www.brands.shwap.uk/

  • Talley

    Talley logo

    @talley_app

    Talley provides a safe space to share experiences by anonymously connecting members on-demand, via in-app audio conversations, to everyday people (trained Listeners) who have experienced or are overcoming the same challenges as those members and can empathise with them. Talley aims at being the first line of defence enabling users to address those day-to-day emotional distress issues (e.g. anxiety, depression, loneliness, toxic relationships, grief) which may lead to severe mental health problems if left unchecked. 

    http://talleyapp.com

  • ThrillXR by Thrill Digital

    ThrillXR by Thrill Digital logo

    @thrilldigitall

    ThrillXR is a gamified virtual world for digital fashion. With gaming and blockchain technology, ThrillXR created a virtual world for fashion retail. Users can visit this virtual world via a PC or VR headset, enter 3D versions of real stores with other users and buy the digital version of real clothes for their avatars. ThrillXR is backed by Epic Games, creators of Fortnite, and mentored by Unity, Rise (Microsoft for startups) and the University of Cambridge Innovators for sustainable fashion.

    https://thrill.digital

  • Trapar

    Trapar logo

    @traparUK

    Trapar connects customers to quality local transport operators.
    It gathers comprehensive requirements and share these with vetted operators. In this way, Trapar can provide quality assurance for customers and efficiency for operators.

    https://trapar.co.uk

  • Voltric Mobility Technologies LTD

    Voltric Mobility Technologies LTD logo

    @voltricuk

    Voltric is a mobility-as-a-service provider dedicated making the growing demand for all forms of mobility practical, sustainable and efficient. The all-inclusive electric vehicle subscription service allows consumers to access a range of road-ready, electric cars all for one price per month without the concerns of managing insurance, tax, MOT and everything needed to get onto the road.  

    http://www.voltric.co.uk

  • White Label Loyalty

    White Label Loyalty logo

    @WhiteLabelLoyal

    White Label Loyalty believes that loyalty is broken and makes it the company's mission to fix it. 75% of loyalty programmes fail because they are built as one-size-fits-all, are not data driven, do not involve no personalisation and mostly only reward based on transactions. Instead, the company offers a data-driven technology platform that helps businesses increase revenue and retention by understanding, predicting and influencing customer behaviour.

    http://whitelabel-loyalty.com

  • Your FLOCK

    Your FLOCK logo

    @_YourFLOCK

    Your FLOCK is a SaaS platform that uses data and science behind what motivates people at work to enable teams to be more productive and engaged. Your FLOCK is working on machine learning-driven software that helps managers coach their teams by providing users with activities tailored to their motivations and designed to help them be more ‘in-sync’ and work more effectively as a team.

    https://www.yourflock.co.uk

What does the programme include? 

As a founder, you will benefit from the Libra programme offering, giving you access to networks, commercial and capital. 

Network

The programme will create peer-to-peer network within the cohort itself and through access to the Tech Nation Alumni. All our programmes focus on creating a safe and trusted environment.  

Sessions

We want to bring you insightful and inspiring sessions from experts, who know what’s involved in scaling a tech company and can speak openly about their journey. 

Commercial

Tech Nation programmes focus on creating lasting relationships between founders and larger corporates across the world that can offer a mutually beneficial relationship. 

Capital

We aim to break down barriers to understand and access venture capital, angel investors and family offices. With us, you’ll have several opportunities to network with key stakeholders.

Who should apply? 

To assess if your company would benefit from this programme, check if you fulfil the following criteria.

  • The company must have at least one founder that self-identifies as Black or multiracial with Black heritage This member must have a majority/equal equity stake in the business.
  • Incorporated within the last 1 – 5 years
  • Have a UK headquarters
  • You are a digital tech business with a product or service
  • Your company will be at the Seed to pre-Series A funding stage.
  • If bootstrapped, your max annual revenue is below £1.5m
  • You are able to demonstrate market traction
  • You have at least one active client or pilot
  • You are able to commit to the programme
  • You have the ambition to scale

*Agencies and consultancies are excluded. 

Why should you choose Libra?

At Tech Nation, we believe we can change the tech industry for the better, make a real difference and see our future Libra Alumni reach the unicorn status and beyond. From research, the time to support Black founders is now: 

  • Tech Nation has already built strong relationships with investors and can leverage these relationships to help Libra cohorts navigate conversations around investment and secure VC funding.
  • From our research and discovery work, we spoke to a group of 32 people, consisting of founders, thought leaders and investors. They all agreed that a programme such as Libra would benefit Black founders and ultimately, the entire tech ecosystem.
  • We want to support the future cohort with how to navigate investing conversations and secure investment.

“I’m so excited to be leading the new Libra Growth Programme at Tech Nation. We have seen numerous reports highlighting the racial inequalities for Black founders scaling. This year, the Libra Growth Programme will push the needle and open access to capital, network, and commercial to early-stage Black founders.”

Abi Mohamed, Libra Programme Lead

What our supporters say

“Black founders should recognise the value you get from Tech Nation’s programmes, from gaining access to networks of entrepreneurs, skilled operators and investors. Most importantly, you could leave the programme with more customers and traction if you maximise the experience.”

Andy Ayim MBE, Angel Investing School

“I’m delighted to see a programme like this that takes a clear-eyed, methodological approach to finding the areas of unfair disadvantage experienced by Black founders and plugging those gaps.” 

Daisy Onubogu, Head of Network & Communities at BACKED VC

Judging panel

Scroll through to see the calibre of our expert judges

FAQs

What is the background of the programme?

In 2020, Tech Nation partnered with Extend VC and Impact X on a report which showed the correlation of how the colour of a founder’s skin can adversely affect their access to capital in the UK. The report found that from 2009 to 2019, only 38 Black entrepreneurs received venture capital funding, which is something we think is unacceptable. As a country, we need to look at these numbers and make the next 10 years better. 

In 2020, we saw the most energised Black Lives Matter movement take centre stage and be hyper-visible across the world. We saw organisations making public statements of change, such as Google supporting and investing in early-stage Black business across Europe. From the data, we can all agree venture capital has been historically a white-dominated industry. In the 2020 Atomico State of European Tech Report, they agreed that the BLM movement has cast a spotlight on the massive racial inequalities in the European tech ecosystem. 

We believe this change will only come by challenging and improving the current landscape of tech and the investment sector, but also by actively offering support, peer to peer contact and a safe space for Black tech founders. The Libra programme aims to do all these things.

Can I apply for several programmes? 

Yes, and we encourage that you apply to the programmes you feel will benefit you the most. Keep in mind, you could be eligible for several! For example, if you fulfil the criteria of Libra but you’re an aspiring fintech, you could apply to both the Libra and Fintech programme. To find the right fit for you, check our programme comparison page.

How is the programme funded? 

The programme is fully funded by Tech Nation.

How can I get support with my application? 

We have several resources for applicants. 

  1. We strongly recommend you get in touch with the Entrepreneur Engagement Manager of your area. They can help you with your application and they’re also a good contact to have when navigating your local tech ecosystem. 
  2. You can reach out to the Programme Lead, Abi Mohamed
  3. Check out the Guide for Applicants.

How much time do I have to commit to sessions and events?

The programme is estimated to last for 6 months, kicking off in September. We’ll be looking to run one expert-led session per month, along with a peer-to-peer networking session and you will also be offered to partake in individual founder coaching sessions.  The time spent on the programme varies every week, but we estimate 5 – 6 hours per month.

Read more about Libra