Bethnal Green Ventures — some good news

Thank goodness for that. It being Valentine’s Day we can finally talk about what we’re up to with Bethnal Green Ventures. We’re very pleased to be able to announce that we’ll be back bigger and better for 2013 and beyond with new investment, new digs and the ability to back lots more talented founders using tech to solve social and environmental problems.

Our main partners will be the Cabinet Office, Nesta and Nominet Trust — between them they’re investing £1.8 million over the next four years. We’re also going to be getting support from our friends at Keystone Law and Google Campus as well as a whole host of other organisations and mentors that we’ll be able to announce over the coming months.

The basic format of BGV will be the same. We’ll run a call for ideas, choose the best teams that apply, invest £15,000 in each venture and run a three month programme that involves learning directly from people who’ve already built great startups, free office space (this time at Nesta and Google Campus) and a Demo Day at the end. The difference is that rather than six teams, we’ll be able to invest in 20 teams a year (in two cohorts of ten — one in the summer and one in the winter).

The investment gives us the capacity we need to build up an amazing community of founders using tech to solve social problems. That’s where we think the real value will come from — the peer network that emerges from our alumni and mentors — and we’ll now be able to grow that to several hundred people in a few years time.

I’ll be blogging more about what we’re looking for and how the programme will be improved over the coming months. We’ll definitely be tweaking it based on the feedback we got from the teams, mentors and investors last year.

Applications are going to open on 6th March but if you have an idea you’d like to run past us before then, feel free to get in touch — is the best way. We’re more than happy to meet up or talk it through. Even if we don’t invest we’re really very friendly about it — if you’re trying to do something that uses tech to address a social or environmental problem, we’ll try our best to help.

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