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We're looking for highly talented people to join our new 6 month full-time programme, where they will become the founders who build brand new businesses that solve the world’s biggest social problems.


In October 2017, 40 social innovators will come together in London with a mission to solve one of the developed world’s biggest social problems. By the end of this 6-month full-time programme, the 40 innovators will have created and launched their brand-new tech businesses. And added together, these new businesses, built from scratch during the programme, will go on to have a big impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

 Could you be one of these innovators?

 We are recruiting people who:

 ·       Have the optimism, passion, ingenuity and resilience needed to solve the most challenging social problems

 ·       Want to create a new business, but are looking to find the right ideas, technologies, co-founders and advisers before they start

 ·       Have the ambition to use exponential technologies and venture capital to create a highly scalable and commercial business with global impact

 ·       Can bring one or more of the following; (a) outstanding skills in building tech products; (b) deep understanding of consumer needs and experiences; (c) excellence in creating and executing commercial and operational strategies.

We are Zinc, this will be our first Transformer Programme and our recruits will become a Zinc Founder when they join the programme. To convert the desire of our Founders to change the world with successful new businesses, the Transformer Programme has a unique combination of 5 elements:  

 1.      Mission: Each 6 month programme focuses on a single, big mission. We believe that mission-led programmes (from putting a Man on the Moon to eradicating diseases) have a great track record in solving big challenges. By having a single mission, we can bring together the world’s best expertise to help you understand the needs of consumers and together we can explore the full range of market and product opportunities. Each of our missions is big enough to inspire many new businesses, but focused enough to bind the programme (and its supporters) in a common and powerful purpose.

 2.      Talent: We are not looking for existing businesses. We are recruiting individuals with the talents and motivation to build a new business. By recruiting the right mix of individuals, we will have a pool of outstanding talent on each programme, from which people will find the co-founders for their new business. That is why we are recruiting an equal mix of Founders with technical, consumer-focused and commercial/operational skills and experience.

 3.      Social Science: To have impact, both socially and commercially, our Founders need access to the world’s best social science. Whether it is really understanding the needs of consumers or designing products and services that will be attractive and effective, the social sciences provide a wealth of, often untapped, insights and inspiration. That is why we are building a hands-on partnership between our Founders and leading researchers from the world’s top universities.

 4.      Process: The programme has 2 phases. The first 3 months is called Match. Founders are exposed to the latest research, thinking, solutions and technologies to help them explore the unmet needs of consumers and assess the commercial opportunities to meet those needs. During this time, Founders have the chance to build relationships with potential co-founders, mentors and programme partners. At the end of this 3 months, Founders match themselves to: their co-founder(s), the problem their team wants to solve and a business proposition. That allows them to move into the Hatch phase, where over the following 3 months, they build their new product and business. They will mentored by the best entrepreneurs, tech partners, investors and academics. By the end of this phase, Founders will be ready to pitch their business to investors at our Demo Day.

 5.      Support: During the programme, Founders will be paid a stipend (equivalent to the London Living Wage) and will have free workspace together in central London. As well as the intensive programme of external speakers and mentors, the Founders will enjoy continuous on-site support from Zinc’s own team. And, of course, they will benefit from the organised and freeform collaboration opportunities with their 40 fellow Founders.


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 and insights from research.

For the first mission, we will focus on improving mental and emotional health. Given that everybody has mental and emotional health, just like everyone has physical health, this means that all1.3 billion people in the developed world need to actively maintain, improve, protect or recover their mental and emotional health throughout their life. At any one time, people are on a spectrum, from the mentally super-fit, through those who have good health, a larger number who are unhealthy, a worrying proportion who are ill and a small percentage who are severely ill. To stay healthy, or to recover their health when they are unhealthy or ill, people often need support in all areas of their lives, including in their education, work, family life, relationships, physical health, finances, recreation, self-regulation and personal effectiveness.

The current high-profile crisis in mental and emotional health is because there are not enough good solutions to help people improve their own health or to enable professionals to support individuals needing specialist support. The Transformer Programme will exploit the exciting potential of:

·       exponential technologies (e.g. the potential of AI to automate and scale therapeutic and behavioural programmes; the diagnostic abilities of face, voice and language recognition software);

·       a holistic approach to people’s needs that finds solutions to their challenges right across the service sector (e.g. fintech products which protect against mental health issues; services which tackle underlying problems like loneliness, self-esteem or poor physical fitness);

·       a boldly disruptive attitude to existing services (e.g. seeking to replace the widespread use of ineffective medical treatments, for both moderately and severely ill people; giving everybody access to the mental fitness regimes used by the elite in business, sports and the arts).

This is clearly a huge agenda. Some of the products and services created in our Transformer Programme will benefit both men and women. But many mental and emotional health risks, issues and solutions are different for men and women, as are the consumer market opportunities by which our new solutions can reach their target audience. To target our first mission, we will focus on women and come back to men’s mental and emotional health as a future mission in its own right. Our October 2017 programme will, therefore, have the mission of “Transforming the mental and emotional health of 650m women and girls in the developed world”.

The Zinc Founders will explore the full potential for new products and services in this market, including:

·       Disrupting the $100+ billion of current annual spend on women’s mental health and stimulating increased spending through new attractive, effective solutions

·       Focusing on the full range of 650m women and girls, including the c130m who are ill at any one time

·       Engaging with women and girls in each of the key life stages: teenage years; university life; work; marriage and divorce; fertility and birth; parenting; middle age; bereavement; disability and chronic illness; unemployment and retirement; old age.

·       Transforming access to proven therapies and behavioural programmes, by using tech to create new marketplaces, provide online access to services, automate diagnosis and therapies, and engage with mass audiences at scale via global platforms.

·       Supporting women to manage and improve their own health, across the full spectrum of needs, from how to be super-fit through managing life events, changing unhealthy behaviours and coping with lifelong illnesses, both moderate and severe

·       Providing new solutions for organisations (e.g. employers, universities, banks, schools) and professionals (e.g. medics, teachers, managers, personal trainers) who are helping women manage and improve their health, across the full spectrum of needs

·       Thinking freshly about the particularly-badly served groups: e.g. 25% of American women aged 40-59 are taking anti-depressants; 30% of teenage girls are suffering from anxiety and/or depression; 20% of women suffer from post-natal depression; a third of female university students in the UK are suffering mental distress; 20% of retired people are depressed and a similar proportion of working-age people hate their jobs; the numbers of people in the US and UK who are stuck on out-of-work benefits due to poor treatment of their mental health has doubled in recent years.


If you are inspired by our mission and want to take a bold step in your life:

·       The full-time programme will begin on October 2nd 2017 and finish on 30th March 2018

·       Offers will be made to suitable candidates on a first-come-first served basis

·       Please apply via this link: https://www.zinc.vc/apply/