Get involved with ventures that are actively tackling the societal consequences of COVID-19
First of all, we hope that you and your family are keeping safe and healthy in these challenging times.
The COVID crisis is a double-edged sword for our founders and ventures.
On the one hand, it is a really tough time to be an early stage business — high degrees of uncertainty, investors risk aversion, challenges in testing products and services with users and more.
On the other, there is a huge groundswell of people wanting to step forward and help social ventures, and lots of evolving needs that need solutions.
We are really keen to connect the people who want to help more than ever with the individual ventures who really need their help.
We’ve got social ventures tackling a wide range of important societal problems.
This is an invitation to get more involved with a venture tackling a societal problem you really care about.
Below we shared more about what’s happening in Zinc and give you opportunities to get involved:
(a) Our latest news from Mission 3 on later life which, in the current environment, feels more important than ever
(b) What our portfolio companies from Mission 1 and Mission 2 are doing to support their users and customers through COVID-19
(c) Updates about our Mental Health Academy — new dates and virtual events
At times like these, it is really powerful to witness the commitment, engagement and support of the community that surrounds our missions.
We are very grateful and wanted to thank all of you who’ve already been working with our portfolio and our Founders. We would love to invite the rest of you to join us, by getting involved with our various ventures and programmes.
Below you can see more updates and details.
Please do reach out if you have ideas, questions, or suggestions.
The Zinc team, and our Founders
Mission 3 Portfolio
We kicked off Mission 3 — to add five years of high quality to later life — 6 months ago. The reality then was very different to the reality now. The importance of improving the quality of later life has been dramatically magnified in the current context of COVID-19, and its devastating effects on the lives of vulnerable people and their families.
Over the past 6 months, and in the time leading up to the beginning of the programme, we have built a unique community of Founders, experts and partners who are committed to this mission.
Zinc has helped to create 12 mission-driven businesses that are united in their commitment to adding 5 more years of high quality to later life. These companies are creating new products and services in the following areas:
- Hearing loss
- Walking & mobility
Loneliness & isolation
- Male pelvic floor
- Clinical treatment of menopause
- Intergenerational, cultural knowledge-exchange
- Musculoskeletal rehabilitation
- Dementia diagnosis
- Women’s health data gap — starting with menopause
If you’re an expert in one of these areas, or can offer help and support, please get in touch with us — and we can connect you with the right founders.
The Mission 3 companies are founded by a hugely talented and diverse group of talented and committed Founders:
- 8 out of 12 companies have a Female Founder
- The average age of the Founders is 36
- 50% of the companies have a non-UK national Founder
- 29% of the Founders are BAME
Mission 3 Show & Tell Series
We’re hugely looking forward to kicking off our Show & Tell sessions.
These are regular events when our ventures present their vision, products, and traction, as well as sharing areas they would love your help with. They’re also a great opportunity to connect with other members of the community who are committed to later life.
Given the current constraints, there will be some changes to the Show & Tell schedule and format; these sessions will now be delivered virtually, starting from the beginning of May. Sign up here to keep updated!
Zinc Portfolio Companies — responding to COVID-19
During these challenging times, we wanted to shine a spotlight on how some of the Zinc Mission 1 and Mission 2 portfolio companies are responding to COVID-19. We’ve also highlighted some ways in which you could get involved.
Mission 1 Portfolio Updates
BetterSpace has developed a leading wellbeing marketplace for employees, working with some of the UK’s top employers. Its platform provides quality-assured solutions that are tailored to the individual’s needs in order to provide wellbeing support.
With the latest developments around having to work from home, and growing stress and anxiety, it is now rapidly packaging all know-how and evidence-based solutions into a free-to-use home working wellbeing assistant called BetterSpace NOW — which is a wellbeing marketplace combined with a wellbeing social networkBetterRemote, designed to help millions of people in times of distress.
BetterSpace are looking for specialists in marketplaces and social networks, data analysts and employers who want to test the product quickly. They are also fundraising and are looking for early-stage investors who want to join their funders who already include some leading angels and corporate partners.
Adia helps women understand their reproductive health and plan ahead, using affordable at-home fertility tests, and access to women’s health experts and support.
At the moment Adia is looking to expand its team of women’s health experts (doctors, nutritionists, psychologists and coaches) to enable them to continue supporting women online during this particularly difficult time.
If you would like support in reaching your existing clients remotely or want to connect with thousands of women already on Adia please contact the team.
Adia is already working with a number of experts from leading institutions including the NHS, Kings and Imperial and would love to continue growing their team of experts, especially as many experts aren’t able to provide face-to-face support to their patients.
Ferly exists to radically transform women’s relationship with sex, by providing an audio guide to mindful sex.
From guided practices to workshops with the pros, Ferly wants to help their community cut out the noise whilst exploring peace, pleasure and sensuality in their every day. Plus, running this campaign is not only about supporting their community through change and uncertainty, but also about making sure their expert contributors are able to keep doing the critical work they do.
In addition, all the usual content on the app is *free* and available to use at any time.
Mission 2 Portfolio Updates
Wakey is on a mission to brighten up people’s day & promote good mental health across the nation — with a new micro-breakfast tv show. It’s entertainment that is designed to help people, especially the lower socio-demographic population.
Wakey! is being proactive in response to the COVID-19 lockdown in three ways:
1) Making sure their daily show does the essentials for everyone in isolation: promote routine, movement, interaction, purpose and fun. So download their app now!
2) After consulting their audience they are testing new formats to help people at other times in the day, including “Dr Iain’s live mental health Q&A’s”, and The Big Distraction a mid-week live pub quiz show they are launching this week.
3) They are actively fundraising to bring forward the scaling up of the roadmap, to help fight the mental health crisis that is and will be caused by the effects of the lockdown.
There’s never been a greater need for a scalable mass-market mental wellbeing intervention.
Mobilise exists to make sure everybody has access to the support they need, focusing on the unpaid carers market, by providing information, guidance and support.
There’s never been a more important time to be supporting the UK’s 9 million unpaid carers, who are at the front line of this crisis.
To do that, Mobilise developed a Digital Coronavirus Carers Support Package, using behavioural nudges shaped by the Behavioural Insight Team.
Are you a carer supporting someone through Coronavirus? Or know one?
- Join their daily Cuppa: https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/cuppa
- Sign up for Mobilise daily e-support — to get updates, tips and advice on a daily basis: https://james816492.typeform.com/to/NZSl88
Mobilise are seeking £25k to build a more sophisticated app which can scale up the support they can offer the huge group carers, who are already engaging with their cuppa and daily e-support package.
BelleVie want a world in which people delivering and receiving care are valued, fulfilled, and have self-determination. Since starting to operate in June 2019, BelleVie has been delivering outstanding service to dozens of families in the UK, through an innovative model that is based on local, self-managed teams.
The BelleVie Team is busy recruiting additional Care Professionals in Oxfordshire and training its new team in Reading, which is due to start on April 13th. They have seen an increased demand for home care with the COVID crisis as hospitals are discharging faster, most care homes are not taking new residents, and family members can’t visit to support their loved ones.
They are looking for the following support:
1) Anyone who could help them navigate the type of financial support from Government that could help them, in particular as many of their Care Professionals need/may need to self isolate
2) BelleVie are looking for an expert who’s a great at taking content and making it digitally friendly! They have created several guidelines and comms for people they support and their Care Professionals on COVID-19,and are looking for someone who can help them turn that into content for their website.
Tandem brings innovative and affordable transportation solutions from big cities to small cities and towns.
With the current crisis, there is a greater need to help essential workers get to their jobs.
Tandem is already taking workers to a food distribution centre in Spalding and they are with their taxi and coach partners to ensure extra measures are put in place to provide safe and affordable solutions to help transport key workers.
Please let Tandem know if you or anyone in your network need help to get workers to their jobs, in any place in the UK.
Yuno is an app that helps underemployed people find new careers by linking them with the right employers.
As with globalisation and automation, Covid-19 is causing a massive shift in the labour market: Jobs are lost in some areas (e.g. hospitality and high street retail) and they are being created in others (e.g. online retail).
Yuno are building a platform that supports workers in adapting to these difficult times. Yuno makes personally and locally relevant career information accessible to those who need it most.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, they have fast-tracked the development of functionality that enables workers to discover what local jobs are currently available that are a fit for a worker’s personality and interest. You can find it at https://yuno.uk.
Yuno are looking for advice and guidance from providers of online-based vocational training resources.
Aequip bridge the gap between employees and employers to identify the cultural norms that will help everyone feel like they belong.
Aequip are working on a free frontline worker diagnostic tool to gauge how the people on the frontline are holding up and how employers can best support them in this time of need.
Their ask is to get connected with any companies with frontline workforces who can use the free tool.
The Zinc Academy
Due to the importance of protecting the safety and well-being of our team and our participants, Zinc has made the decision to postpone the launch of the Zinc Academy on Mental Health to September 2020.
The new programme dates, including the 3-day immersions, are updated on our website with the 9-month part-time programme now running from September 2020 until June 2021.
The good news is that the application deadline has now been extended to August 1st.
We believe that the need to increase our impact on mental health has only become more urgent and important in these unprecedented times, and we look forward to welcoming our brilliant participants on to the first Zinc Programme later in the year.
In the meantime, the Zinc Academy team will be launching a series of virtual events that will focus on relevant topics including: supporting people’s mental health in these times, and opportunities the current situation offers individuals who are seeking to have more impact.
Our Academy team are available for any questions or queries about the Academy content.
You can reach us at email@example.com. We’re always happy to hear from you.
A growing group of alumni and portfolio companies which provides a strong community and peer to peer to support.
Unlocking new opportunities for people hard-hit by automation and globalization
At the Autodesk Foundation, we have been grappling with the challenges and opportunities that automation presents to the global workforce since 2017. Automation and globalization are two of the biggest forces shaping the future of work and our wider society, with gross inequities between winners and losers. To address these inherent inequalities, we back systems and solutions that help at-risk workers prosper in the era of automation in service of a more equitable future.
Automation and globalization are two of the biggest forces shaping the future of work and our wider society, with gross inequities between winners and losers. To address these inherent inequalities, we back systems and solutions that help at-risk workers prosper in the era of automation in service of a more equitable future.”
Head of Portfolio and Investment
The Autodesk Foundation
Building ventures to improve the quality of later life
Today (2020), there are one billion people in the world aged over 601. There will be two billion by 20501, and three billion by 21001. We are all living longer – the result of a century of advancements in medical and biological knowledge, human ingenuity and technological innovation. A key question facing us now is how we can ensure that our emerging interventions and innovations will also add quality to these later years.
Ageing is a privilege, and can bring a range of exciting and unique experiences and opportunities. However, the extent to which we can maintain quality of life as we age depends, in part, on the availability and accessibility of well-designed, engaging and human-centred products and services.