What does a successful Zinc Founder look like?

Zinc brings together cohorts of 70 entrepreneurs, for each Venture Builder. Those who join the Venture Builder are talented individuals, from around the world who are ready to commit to building a new scalable, mission-led business, from scratch. They are all united by the specific mission the Venture Builder is aimed at solving.

Based on experience in backing over 200 founders to date, we put together a list of the attributes we know make a good fit with our Venture Builder and successful Zinc founders. There isn’t one specific template of what a Zinc Founder looks like. However, there are universal characteristics that we assess potential applicants on and look for across each mission:

Mission-drive

Successful founders at Zinc are fully committed to tackling the mission for the Venture Builder. They are frustrated by problems in the current mission and are keen to help solve them. They can demonstrate passion and motivation to be the person who leads large-scale change in this space.

Ambition

Building your own business from scratch is hard. Successful Founders can demonstrate their ambition, drive and resilience to continue to scale this business for the next 5-10 years of their life. They are able to motivate themselves and others around them to keep going when things get tough.

Problem focused

Successful Founders are laser focused on their end users with the ability to think creatively about how to solve a problem that crucially – users want to be solved. They have the experience (personal and/or professional) to create effective change in this area.

Innovation

All Founders on our Venture Builders have the potential to think big, to think about how ideas could be scaled to a 10x level rather than just by 10%? They are interested in creating products & services that approach a time-old problem in an innovative way. They can think creatively given real world constraints.

Clear spike

The most successful Founders have a strong set of skills, relevant to the mission, that would appeal to other talented people in the cohort. They can sell themselves as an individual, as well as sell the strength and ability of their skills as a potential co-founder.

These characteristics present differently across each individual.  No one is going to be perfect at every single one of them, nor do we expect you to be. Read on to see how these characteristics showed themselves in successful Founders now in our portfolio:

Ayse Tanyeri

Assembly

Ayse Tanyeri

Assembly

Ayse was a senior exec in Amazon before joining Zinc. She has extensive experience leading teams and large programmes within some of the biggest and most successful retailers in the world including Amazon and Tesco. Having spent years in executive leadership roles, Ayse decided to step down and channel her skills and experience and passion to solve a problem that was deeply personal for her as a mum- supporting young children’s mental health. She is the co-founder of Assembly (founded in 2022) which empowers parents to help their 4-11-year-olds overcome anxiety and thrive. Assembly offers personalised content and behaviour change support for parents to build emotional and life skills in their children.

Dr Rebecca Love

Vira

Dr Rebecca Love

Vira

Rebecca is co-founder of Vira Health, a company focused on extending healthy life expectancy for women. Vira’s first product, Stella provides personalised treatment plans and expert care for women to manage the symptoms of menopause. To date, Vira has raised $14m of VC funding, including from LocalGlobe, Octopus Ventures and Optum Ventures. Before co-founding Vira, Rebecca earned her PhD in chronic disease epidemiology from Cambridge University and worked as a consultant for the WHO, UNICEF and the Mayor of London.

Alex Shapland Howes

RideTandem

Alex Shapland Howes

RideTandem

Alex started his career as an educator, and became the CEO of the education charity Future First, working with 10% of all secondary schools across the country. He has also served as a trustee of Teach First before joining Zinc to co-found Tandem in 2019. Alex was keen to harness his passion for impact, and scale, and apply it in the commercial sector, to allow innovation and fast-paced and scalable growth. Tandem’s technology enables high quality, efficient, sustainable transport that connects people living outside big cities with jobs, healthcare, other vital services and social connections.

Tandem, to date, have raised £2m through investment from Ascension Ventures, 1818, and the European Space Agency, and serving public and private sector clients including Transport for West Midlands, the University of Warwick, Manpower, Reed and Royal Mail.

Dr. Ahmed Wobi

Tonus Tech

Dr. Ahmed Wobi

Tonus Tech

Ahmed is a medical doctor and an experienced Clinical Fellow with a demonstrated history of working in medical technology start-ups and the hospital & health care industry. Ahmed decided to pursue a path that will allow him to build on his medical expertise and combine it with deep tech to scale his impact and support patients worldwide. Ahmed co-founded Tonus (in 2020)-  developing wearable robotics products to help people optimise exercise and get extra strength to overcome their limits. 

Dr Trudie Fell

Bellevie

Dr Trudie Fell

Bellevie

Trudie is a software engineer, with a PhD in medical science and extensive experience in building and leading self-organising tech teams in one of the leading Telco providers in the UK. Having seen the positive effect on productivity and employee well-being, and having experienced the reward of care work while supporting her studies,Trudie decided to apply these principles to the undervalued care industry. She co-founded BelleVie in 2019 with the mission to prove how an innovative operating model using self-managing teams, funded by monthly subscriptions, and underpinned by great technology can fix the current crisis in care. BelleVie has raised to date more than £1.5m of funding through a mix of equity investments and grants.

Backing exceptional talent

Zinc’s mission is ambitious: to back exceptional talent to build innovative commercial solutions that solve society’s most pressing issues. We believe the way to do this is by supporting talent through time, capital and connections; our commitment to this is evidenced through the offer to Founders on our Venture Builder.

Capital

Up to £250,000 in investment into your venture, broken down as follows:

One of the highest stipends (£12,000) across 6 months to support you financially as you find your co-founder, settle on a problem area and begin to built.

An initial investment of £80,000 into the most promising ventures in the cohort. This is offered to a higher number of ventures than on other venture builders 

A follow-on investment of up to £150,000 at seed stage

Time

Unlike other Venture Builders, the first phase of the Venture Builder is 6 months long; this gives you a substantial amount of  time to immerse yourself in the problem spaces. You’ll be able to get well acquainted with the 69 other talented people in your cohort, and focus on giving your new venture the best possible foundations and chance at success.

Connections

As a Zinc Founder, you will join a cohort of 69 similarly, high-calibre individuals from which to select your co-founder(s). You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with them to determine your best match and align on a problem to solve, secure in the knowledge that you all share a strong mission-drive.

Access to our Visiting Fellows network – filled with 100 experts in all fields related to building a mission-led business from scratch. From domain experts with extensive, mission-specific knowledge, to business, startup, product, tech, engineering or creative experts, our Fellows are all committed and excited to support you as you build a venture from scratch.

Across the globe

Exceptional talent is not limited to the UK or Europe. We strongly believe that diversity of thought breeds innovation and intersects across multiple disciplines and locations. Zinc has the ability to endorse the UK Startup/Innovator visas, allowing us to back exceptional talent from across the globe. With a visa, successful Founders will have the option to innovate securely in the UK for a minimum of two years. 

Successful ventures that receive investment from Zinc are not required to remain in the UK once the Venture Builder has finished. Though companies must be incorporated in the UK, we have a number of companies in our portfolio that operate elsewhere.