Tech for Good companies are successfully carving out a new niche within the industry. In an increasingly woke society, people are prepared to engage in difficult discussions and catapult injustices into the mainstream. Tech is being used to amplify messages and find creative solutions to everyday, systemic and global problems.
From sustainability and environmental concerns to diversity and inclusion, charity work, and mental health and wellbeing, Tech for Good spans multiple sectors and deploys a variety of technology. However, companies that sit beneath the term’s wide umbrella are united by one simple fact: they exist to make the world better.
According to TechNation, 490 Tech for Good firms exist in the UK with 45% at seed stage. Of the 490, 17.5% are in AdTech, 10.3% are Edtech-based, 9.2% are in the Fintech sector, and 8% are AI companies. The report also states that the total valuation of tech for social good firms stands at £2.3billion with an estimated £732milion total turnover. These companies are disproportionately headquartered in London and the South-East.
Given the events of 2020, a rising percentage sits within the HealthTech sphere. The COVID-19 pandemic has fostered not only a boom in digitalised healthcare solutions, including the Track and Trace app and investment in online GP services but also a sense of communal solidarity. Tech has been an enabler of this spirit, bringing communities together in innovative ways.
Moreover, the emphasis on world-wide sustainability goals has driven GreenTech and CleanTech initiatives. Kara Swisher a tech journalist for The New York Times’ is certain that “The world’s first trillionaire will be a green-tech entrepreneur”… “That’s trillionaire. With a ‘T’.” As part of the UK government’s 10-point-plan for a green industrial revolution, there are plans to invest £12bn over the next decade; this is estimated to create a quarter of a million jobs and help the UK achieve its “net-zero” carbon emissions goal by 2050.
Tech for social good is emerging – it is not a sector, it is a mobilising framework for articulating the values, behaviours and attitudes that describe a focus on social impact – putting people at the heart of the business.
– TechNation, Tech for social good in the UK report
The demand for societal change is a sentiment echoed throughout the UK, which grows as discourse becomes more open. The 2019 Porter Novelli/Cone Gen Z Purpose Study states that “90% of Gen-Z’s believe companies must act to help social and environmental issues and 75% will research to see if a company is being honest when it takes a stand on issues”. Companies that use their power responsibly to effect change are being rewarded with a growing customer-base of values-driven individuals, those who are aligned to their brand and more likely to remain loyal.
From the #metoo and Black Lives Matter protests, tech breaks down barriers for participating in important movements. It accelerates causes by appealing to wider audience groups and allows for the greater dissemination of information. Despite the positives, abuse and harassment are prevalent within the online community; this can be heightened by political conversation. A sub-genre of Tech for Good has been created to combat the adverse and harmful elements and improve online life.
The online space can only be a positive social good if we reflect on our own behaviours as digital citizens and set a zero tolerance to online abuse and the circulation of instances of racial abuse.
– Activist Seyi Akiwowo, founder of Glitch*
What are some examples?
Given the variety of Tech for Good businesses, we have profiled four of our favourite companies below…
Created in 2016, GoodBox is Salford headquartered digital donation firm backed by Sir Andy Murray. Founded on the insight that a cashless society is harming the charity sector, the Fintech helps non-profit organisations via products like the GBx Mini, GBx Core and GoodPlate to encourage donations via card and contactless payment.
It has partnered with over 1,500 non-profit organisations and has raised £9 million in its latest round of funding.
Through our work, we strive to amplify the efforts of our incredible non-profits. We look forward to continuing our work to drive much needed technological advancements to one of society’s most valuable sectors.
– Francesca Hodgson, Co-founder and Managing Director
An Adtech which provides customers with an ethical approach to advertising, Good-Loop counts Amazon, Unilever, Coca Cola, Cosmopolitan, H&M, and Buzzfeed among its customers. The Edinburgh-based company doubled its turnover to £2m in 2020 and has raised £1.6m in funding since its creation in 2016.
Through Good-Loop, if people engage with a company’s advertisement, they unlock a free donation and choose to support a charity partner. Therefore, businesses can do some good in the world whilst delivering better ad performance and build brand love.
Already during the crisis, Nestle has used the Good-Loop platform to support the NHS and Boots worked with the company to tackle hygiene poverty in the UK… Good-Loop grew 100% year on year in 2020, despite the fact that the UK ad industry saw revenue drop at least 5% as a result of COVID.
– Amy Williams, Co-founder and Chief Executive
Sustainably was started as a successful beta app for Monzo bank customers; it allows people to round up their payment to the nearest £1 to donate their spare change automatically every time they shop. Created by mother and daughter duo Loral and Eishel Quinn, Sustainably was named Richard Branson’s startup of 2019 and it blends Loral’s experience in FTSE100 digital strategy with Eishel’s background in ethical retail.
It is now connected to 13 UK banks and is available to 95% of the UK population. The company aims to connect to all high street banks and challenger banks, as well as launch RealTimeCSR so businesses can match donations with their customers and employers in real-time.
I think disruption is happening across all industries. People want to do good and the challenge is to make it as easy as possible. There is a real opportunity for charities to benefit from digital, but I don’t think the industry is there yet.
– Loral Quinn, Co-founder
Founded in November 2017 by Alex Stephany, Beam helps crowdfund new career opportunities for homeless men and women in London. Over 60 charities now refer to Beam. The company provides vulnerable people with a support network and helps place them into stable careers. It identifies as a social enterprise in that the company exists to help others to become financially sustainable.
Beam has won 20 awards, including ‘Hottest Tech for Good Startup’ at The Europas and ‘Best Entrepreneur for Good’ at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Beam has also placed on the TechForce 19 list as one of 19 technologies identified as helping the most vulnerable during COVID-19.
I’m hopeful that we’ll start to see new technologies emerge which are designed specifically for vulnerable or disadvantaged individuals. Wealthy people take for granted the amazing services they can get through their phone from Spotify to Uber to Deliveroo. Our goal is to bring the best of private sector technology to some of the most disadvantaged people, so that technology can work for everyone.
– Alex Stephany, Founder
Tech permeates every aspect of our lives; it makes sense to utilise its capabilities for social good. Innovative Tech for Good Companies can have a hugely meaningful impact on everyday lives, creating personal connections with consumers in a previously unseen capacity. It means that everyone can be part of the solution and make simple but influential unconscious changes.
Connecting the right talent to breath life into these ventures is an important part of scaling your Tech for Good business and expand into larger audience groups. At Insight Recruitment, we have supported start-ups within this field on both our Engineering and Tech sides. We have also helped larger companies recruit key individuals to support socially impactful projects and focuses.
For more about our tech divisions, take a look here: https://www.insight-rec.com/tech/
And for our Engineering divisions, take a look here: https://www.insight-rec.com/engineering/
If you have any immediate requirements or are a looking for a new role get in touch here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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