Nominet announces £1m social fund winners: nearly all London-based

Eight out of the first ten winners of a new £1m fund are based in London.

The Social Tech, Social Change fund has backed its first ten social entrepreneurs with £50,000 each to address major social issues affecting the UK.

The fund, a joint initiative between Nominet and Founders Forum for Good, addresses issues ranging from social isolation and sustainability to access to education and healthcare.

The programme also includes mentorship from some of the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs to develop their early-stage ideas into profitable, scalable social tech ventures.


Tech City champions

Among the winners are the makers of Speakset, a set-top box for the elderly to combat isolation – founder Matthew Simmonds [above] was a Tech City News Elevator Pitch finalist.

Also selected are an energy saving solution, a panic attack combatting tool and an app that remotely monitors the activity and medication of the elderly.

Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust, said: “What we have seen so far is a high calibre of applicants with a passion to improve the lives of some of the least fortunate through the imaginative use of technology.

“Nominet Trust will not be seeking equity or intellectual property but instead providing funding in order to move ideas from prototype to high-impact growth”.

Since its launch in June 2013, the Social Tech, Social Change fund has received over 220 applications.

The first ten winners are:

  • Benkyo Player Ltd: a set of tools that improve both access to and attainment in online video learning
  • Commonplace Digital Ltd: a digital product that engages people in shaping their community
  • London Rebuilding Society: a new income maximisation and energy saving solution
  • Speakset: a set-top box, designed specifically for the elderly to combat isolation. It allows simple video calling through the TV without needing to know how to use a computer.
  • Open Utility Ltd: the world’s first peer-to-peer energy marketplace
  • PlayLab London: a game, controlled by breathing, designed to ameliorate the effect of panic attacks to provide practical support to those who experience anxiety related conditions
  • Specialisterne: to create a bridge between individuals with autism and organisations that require their unique skills
  • Virtually Free Ltd: an app to help sufferers of agoraphobia
  • Adept Communications: an app that allows carers to monitor activity and medication taking of an elderly person when they are not with them
  • Superflux and Forum for the Future: a web platform that provides young people with access to open data, tools, expertise, inspiring projects and connected devices.