Nesta launches £50m fund for social impact start-ups

Nesta Impact Investments will invest up to £1m in 5-10 start-ups promoting social and environmental good each year

Nesta Impact Ventures, the venture capital arm of UK innovation agency Nesta, has announced a £50m fund to support early-stage social change and environmental impact start-ups.

Over £25m of Nesta Impact Investments has been allocated to directly invest in early-stage start-ups over the next five years.

Nesta Impact Investments will invest between £500,000 and £1m in Seed-to-Series A stage start-ups, with the ability to invest up to £4m over multiple rounds.

>See also: British Patient Capital invested £1.6bn into start-ups in 2021/22

It plans to make between five and ten investments per year.

The £25m fund will back start-ups working in three key areas:

  • Those giving every child a fair start
  • Those that help people live healthy lives
  • Creating a sustainable future where the economy works for both people and the planet

The fund has already backed its first three start-ups, all of which have female founders: tech-enabled childcare platform Koru Kids; Type 2 diabetes reversal programme Habitual; and a “gastric balloon in a pill” developed by Oxford Medical Products.

The other £25m will be fed into Mission Studio, Nesta’s joint venture with Founders Factory, which focuses on launching new purpose-led start-ups and providing them with initial investment.

>See also: Form Ventures to back 10 start-ups in heavily regulated markets in 2023

Nesta Impact Ventures has been the most active impact fund in the UK over the past decade, according to Beauhust.

Since 2012, Nesta Impact Ventures has invested directly in over 30 early-stage companies from two previous funds.

Its current portfolio includes digital educational resources platform Bibliu, AI skin cancer tool Skin Analytics and data and software provider for schools, Arbor.

It has also had a number of notable exits, including FutureGov and BeApplied.

Lisa Barclay, executive director of Nesta Impact Investments, said: “With this new strategy, we’re looking forward to helping another generation of mission-led businesses thrive. We believe that being purpose-led and creating a scalable tech company can go hand-in-hand, as long as the right support is in place.”


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Early Stage Funding