mission led approach

Mission-Led Approach

We focus on specific ‘missions’, which we believe unite, mobilise and organise the best talent, knowledge and capital that are needed to break through at scale. Within each of our missions, we run Venture Builder and Academy programmes that help individuals to have impact.

We have 3 criteria for choosing a Zinc mission:

It must tackle one of the great unmet needs in the developed world.
The target addressable market must exceed 100m people in the developed world alone.
There must be lots of unexploited opportunities to disrupt, extend and improve existing services through new technologies; insights from research.

Since we launched in 2017, we have been developing a unique ecosystem of diverse talent across many sectors, disciplines and countries – mobilising people around a common mission and building scalable solutions to social problems.

Each of our programmes provide unique opportunities for R&D. We are committed to building a new commercial innovation system for the social sciences, to increase the impact of existing research and to generate new R&D opportunities through our ventures. Zinc’s main financial backer is the London School of Economics. Zinc is also a member of the ASPECT consortium which is focused on accelerating the impact of social science.

The Team Behind Zinc

Meet members of our team and learn more about Zinc, our missions and our programmes at our weekly Meet & Greet events.

Paul Kirby

Co-founder, CEO

Paul Kirby

Co-founder, CEO

Paul is a former partner at KPMG and the global head of public services and government. In his career, he has been Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, as well as working in the media, education, transport and urban regeneration sectors. Paul is a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics & Political Science and was a Director of Bethnal Green Ventures and a Non-Executive Director of the Cabinet Office.

Ella Goldner

Co-founder, General Manager

Ella Goldner

Co-founder, General Manager

Ella is a former Strategy Director at IPG Mediabrands, one of the world’s largest media agencies, working with global leading brands. She is the Co-Founder of NewCo UK, which connects the most successful large corporates with the most innovative start-ups in the UK. Ella started her career as an engineer in Tel Aviv’s hi tech aerospace industry, before becoming a consultant to tech firms.

Rachel Carey

Chief Scientist

Rachel Carey

Chief Scientist

Rachel is an Associate Consultant for UCL’s Centre for Behaviour Change and a former Senior Behaviour Change Research Advisor at Bupa. Rachel has a PhD in Psychology, and has worked across a range of settings embedding social science research in tech-enabled businesses.

Julia Ross

Programme Director

Julia Ross

Programme Director

Julia joined Zinc at the very beginning. Since then, she has led the delivery of two company builder programmes. Her role builds on her previous experience in setting-up and scaling start-ups in market research and building design. In her earlier career, Julia worked in TV and international development. She has an MSc from SOAS and a passion for high-impact social innovation.

Eleanor Ford

Academy Director

Eleanor Ford

Academy Director

Eleanor joined Zinc in Oct 2019 to launch the new Zinc Academy. Most recently Eleanor was Director of the Good Lab, a radical innovation collaboration of 12 of the UK’s largest charities, looking to transform how they raise funds through venturing. Eleanor started her career as an anthropologist and documentary filmmaker, before landing in the world of start-ups in 2006, founding a technology company, LikeCube, which was acquired by Oakley Capital Private Equity and the Time Out Group, where she stayed for 5 years as Global Innovation Director.

Francesca Marsden

Senior Associate

Francesca Marsden

Senior Associate

Fran gained her BSc in Geography at the University of Bristol, whilst simultaneously testing out her appetite for social innovation on a programme geared towards improving people’s experiences of later life. She has previously worked with charities focused on supporting homeless people and ending poverty. Her interests lie in sustainability, social innovation and learning.

Lois Uduje

Senior Associate

Lois Uduje

Senior Associate

Lois has spent the last three years in the public relations sector and during lockdown she set out looking for a new role that would allow her to create tangible impact in today’s society. This path resulted in her joining Zinc to support on The Academy and future missions. Lois spent her time before working at The University of Manchester studying for a degree in Philosophy with a focus on logic and semantics. She loves to travel, having completed Rio Carnaval this February and a large chunk of Central America a few years earlier her goal is to eventually cover all of South America.

Diane Morgan

Talent & Catalyst Director

Diane Morgan

Talent & Catalyst Director

Diane loves to be at the intersection of education and business with expertise in building and scaling education & edtech and was most recently at workforce accelerator, Trilogy Education Services. She is former Associate Dean of Imperial College and London Business School. She is a Forte Board Member to advance women in business, and an Advisor & Angel Investor to startups in education, talent and tech. Diane is a systemic thinker who loves to make things happen with an ability to connect and match networks.

Tim Shakespeare

Research Acceleration Lead

Tim Shakespeare

Research Acceleration Lead

Tim is passionate about applying research and design principles to help people live healthier and happier lives. During a PhD and post-doc he bridged the gap between academics, healthcare professionals and people affected by dementia to create new solutions. Before joining Zinc, Tim gained experience in research comms, fundraising and innovation, combining research and creativity to develop new products and services at Alzheimer’s Society.

Beth Massam

Senior Associate

Beth Massam

Senior Associate

Beth joined Zinc to pursue her interest in creating positive social change. A history graduate from the University of Liverpool, Beth won British Council sponsorship to work in an environmental NGO in China and has since worked in communications and content marketing across Asia and Europe. She loves to travel, an interest she had to replace over lockdown with practicing pilates and learning French.

Rachel Middlemass

Research & Development Partnerships

Rachel Middlemass

Research & Development Partnerships

Before joining Zinc in December 2020, Rachel spent ten years working on knowledge exchange and research impact at the University of East London, University College London and, most recently, the London School of Economics. She is passionate about realising the applied benefits of academic research and loves being part of the process of making that happen. All of this feels, in some ways, like penance for doing her PhD in the almost uniquely un-impactful field of medieval masculinities.

Iain Jordan

Mental Health Lead

Iain Jordan

Mental Health Lead

Iain is a Psychological Medicine consultant and psychotherapist with 18 years of clinical experience in diverse fields including cancer and palliative care, complex physical symptoms, medical informatics, and major trauma. He is passionate about making valuable insights from an eclectic range of disciplines available to everyone with the aim of helping people survive and thrive. He loves to build bicycles and is passionate about any type of exercise. He is a sometime burner (not this year sadly), and dedicated cinephile.

Hannah Mackaness

Venture Builder Product Lead

Hannah Mackaness

Venture Builder Product Lead

Hannah has kept a thread of women’s health and technology throughout her Product career with experience in hardware, software and firmware; from adtech to femtech. Intrigued by what can come out when brilliant people come together in new ways she’s rejoined Zinc for a 6 month stint. In the VB programme to get Founders from 0-1, and for Portfolio companies helping build out their product strategies.

Rosie Webster

Venture Builder Science Lead

Rosie Webster

Venture Builder Science Lead

Rosie has a passion for applying scientific knowledge and methods to the development of digital products, to make them the best they can be. She has a PhD in Health Psychology, and many years experience as a UX researcher and applied behavioural scientist within health tech startups.

Stephen Hills

Research & Development Fellow

Stephen Hills

Research & Development Fellow

Stephen worked for over a decade as a care and support worker in mental health and learning disabilities, before studying English Literature and the Medical Humanities. He completed his PhD about the history of neurology in 2021, and is fascinated by the way narrative informs the way we think, feel and interact with the world around us.

Michelle Ulor

Research & Development Fellow

Michelle Ulor

Research & Development Fellow

Michelle is passionate about the different ways in which music can be used to improve our mental wellbeing. She has a PhD in Music Psychology and has worked on various projects relating to music and mental health, and other arts-based interventions including mindfulness and virtual reality.

Claire McCallum

Research & Development Fellow

Claire McCallum

Research & Development Fellow

Claire is an academic Researcher interested in digital health and multidisciplinarity. After an undergraduate in psychology, her PhD (public health and human computer interaction) explored how we can increase the usefulness and efficiency of evaluations of digital health technologies – for researchers and industry professionals. In her post-doctoral research Claire developed and evaluated a self-management app for an autoimmune condition, and then completed a 1 year lectureship in Digital Health.

Kirsten Bound

Project Lead

Kirsten Bound

Project Lead

Kirsten joined Zinc in January 2022 to lead an R&D project on social science and early stage ventures. Her background is in public policy research and innovation. She has worked around the world, and after driving several years of global expansion at Innovation Foundation, Nesta, led a multidisciplinary research and policy department of over 80 as Executive Director. She has experience in organisations ranging from fast growing education ventures to the Rwandan government and the World Bank IFC. A thread throughout her career has been finding ways to empower people with new ideas and abilities to drive innovation for public good.

Board Member

Saul Klein

Co-founder

Saul Klein

Co-founder

Saul is a partner at LocalGlobe, a UK-based venture capital firm. His investment career includes being a partner at Index Ventures and he specialises in early-stage tech companies. Saul was co-founder of Seedcamp, the first tech accelerator in Europe.He has been closely involved in the formation of many successful businesses, including Lovefilm, MOO and Kano.

Board Member

Julia Black

Co-founder

Julia Black

Co-founder

Julia is the Pro Director for Research at the LSE, and from 2016-17 served as LSE’s Interim Director. She is on the board of UK Research and Innovation. At the LSE she is a member of the Law Department, with a primary research interest in regulation of Financial Services and Biotechnology. She holds a PhD from Oxford and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2015. She chairs the ASPECT Consortium of LSE, Oxford, Manchester, Sheffield, Sussex universities which is working with Zinc to drive entrepreneurship and commercialisation in the social sciences.

Portfolio Companies

Learn about Zinc’s Vision, Missions, Programmes

Learn about Zinc’s Vision, Missions, Programmes from our team directly at out weekly
Meet & Greet sessions