Home » Technology » London’s social impact accelerator BGV plans seed fund


London-based “social impact” accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures, which backs pre-seed startups with ideas for using tech to tackle social and/or environmental problems, has taken £1.3 million in funding from three social tech and innovation funders: Big Society Capital, Nominet Trust and Nesta.

BVG says its intention with the new raise, its third, is to support social impact startups through more of their first steps — ideally up to seed stage in the future, not just helping teams accelerate early-stage “tech for good” ideas.

At this point, BVG has invested a total of £1.4 million in 86 startups since first opening for applications back in March 2012. Of those, it says 56 companies are still active, with its portfolio having collectively raised more than £23 million in further funding, and the businesses having an estimated 6.5 million people using their products and services.

The fund’s current model combines a twice-yearly, 12-week accelerator program in which chosen startups receive a £20,000 investment (in exchange for 6 percent equity), along with mentoring and access to co-working space in London.

Last year it also expanded to be able to offer a further £50,000 to startups in the cohort. But it’s evidently hoping to go a stage further still — aiming to create a seed fund to support more companies to the next stage.

It says the funding it’s taking now will be used to develop the planned “later stage impact investment products,” as well as for expanding its operations and building further partnerships — presumably to help it raise the capital for the hoped-for seed fund.

A BVG spokeswoman confirmed it will also have “more capacity” to do investments up to £50,000 in its cohort startups, “usually in the form of a convertible note.” She said the plan is to do 20 accelerator-stage investments this year, plus 10 to 12 follow-on investments.

Commenting on the raise in a statement, BGV CEO Paul…

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