30 companies to join Tech Nation programme supporting Black and multiracial entrepreneurs

Tech Nation, the leading scaleup accelerator for UK tech companies, recently announced that 30 companies are joining its newest growth programme, Libra, which is designed to equip ambitious Black and multiracial (with Black heritage) entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools and networks they need to scale their business in today’s world.

Black and multiracial founders often face barriers to accessing VC investment which can be directly linked to racial bias, creating additional challenges to overcome in their scaling journey.

In 2020, Tech Nation partnered with Extend VC and Impact X on a report – Diversity Beyond Gender report – to look at how the colour of a founder’s skin can adversely affect their access to capital in the UK. The report highlighted that between 2009 and 2019, 76% of VC investment went to all-white founding teams, whilst only 23.36% went to multiracial founding teams and 0.24% went to all-Black founding teams.

Tech Nation’s new Libra programme comprises Black heritage founders that hail from all areas of the UK – from the South West to Yorkshire and the North West. Almost half (43%) of the companies are led by female founders, reflecting Tech Nation’s commitment to supporting underrepresented innovators that have an ambition to scale.

Key challenges that emerging tech founders are tackling

The 30 companies selected are helping to tackle some of the biggest challenges of our lifetime. Atherton Mutombwera, Zimbabwe-born and the Founder and CEO of Hutano Diagnostics, is one of five Healthtech founders leading the charge on improving global health and wellbeing through technology. With learnings taken from the 2014 Ebola outbreak, Hutano Diagnostics has created a disease diagnostic and surveillance platform for quick disease diagnosis, tracking and outbreak spread prediction.

NxSteps, a Hatfield-based digital health solutions company focusing on maximising human performance through biomechanic, is another one of the Healthtech companies selected.

Through the Libra programme, Tech Nation is also supporting companies helping the UK’s journey to Net Zero, such as Bristol-based Voltric, which provides an electric vehicle subscription service that allows consumers to access a range of road ready, electric cars.

Other tech companies supporting the UK’s journey towards Net Zero include Loopcycle, which is helping businesses to move towards a circular economy by providing a platform to boost valuable secondary product management, reuse and recovery. Similarly, Compare Ethics verifies businesses’ sustainability credentials to provide a trusted source of information for consumers.

Four of the 30 companies selected are creating technological solutions to improve the recruitment process and ensure a future where talent is recruited fairly and without bias. Companies such as Manchester-based Jobseekrs, which aims to become the primary and most unbiased job-search and matching engine on the internet, and Flair Impact, which uses technology to help organisations measure and build anti-racist cultures, are dedicated towards creating a better future for talented black and multiracial people working within all sectors in the UK.

Similarly, Edtech companies like Air Math Tuition are aiming to level the playing field for learning and reduce elitism in the UK education system through its online Maths education platform. It joins another Edtech company, Framework, the world’s first on-demand business school.

Other companies selected to join the Libra programme come from sectors including ecommerce, retail tech, lawtech, leisure, gaming and propetech.

The judges selecting the companies for the Libra programme include: Tom Adeyoola, Daisy Onubogu, Dama Sathianathan, Nakai Jirira, PhD, Anika H., Margaret Sheyindemi, Maria Francisca Jorge (Kika), Blake Bower, Tanya Williams, Sebastiaan Bruinsma, Kevin Simmons, Saloni Bhojwani, Audrey Handem, Olivia Sibony, Leo Chandler, Evgeny Shadchnev, and Abigail Iyin Osundun.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “It’s great to see Tech Nation’s new Libra programme supporting founders from a range of backgrounds and tapping into the rich depth of tech talent we have across the country. We are doing all we can to make sure people have the skills they need to work in this exciting and challenging industry.”

Abi Mohamed, Libra Lead, Tech Nation, comments: “At Tech Nation, we are working to build a future where anyone with a vision and drive can access the skills and support needed to scale and succeed as a game-changing leader. We have furthered our commitment to this by launching our first programme designed to tackle some of the unique challenges faced by Black and multiracial founders in the UK.

“The 30 scaleups joining the Libra programme represent some of the most exciting, innovative, and resilient tech companies in the UK today, and are tackling some of our biggest challenges. Spread right across the UK, companies are working in global health, providing access to electric vehicles, and helping businesses move towards circular business models.

“By helping to support our future Libra alumni to reach unicorn status and beyond, we hope to play our part in strengthening the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business – for everyone.”