Seventeen new commercial ventures have emerged from the first mission of for-good business builder Zinc – each with products designed to respond to the challenges of women’s mental and emotional health. Julian Blake reports.
New solutions to challenges as diverse as money, street safety, retirement and even sexual pleasure have emerged from the first six-month mission from for-good business builder Zinc.vc.
The result is a range of purposeful products created for ages from eight to 88, with a new set of health services ranging from contraception to chronic diseases to perinatal support. The ventures offer help in overcoming mental illness, including five different types of clinical therapy.
Zinc was co-founded last year by tech investor Saul Klein, ex-Number 10 policy unit chief Paul Kirby and tech entrepreneur Ella Goldner, looking to address some of the world’s biggest social problems through digital innovation – and bringing together talent, ideas and money under to achieve that.
In an interview last year, Goldner told DigitalAgenda that women’s mental and emotional health represented “a $100bn opportunity” for 650m in the developed world.
The Zinc programme was seed-funded with £500,000 from Klein’s VC funder LocalGlobe, and is now looking to raise extra capital from angel investors, other venture funds, impact investors and strategic corporates. Zinc will take an 8% stake in new ventures.
Participants in the programme, based at Camden Town Hall, were advised by senior tech entrepreneurs and investors, as well as experts in women’s mental health and wellbeing.
The programme was then divided into ‘match’ and ‘hatch’, with the first helping participants find their cofounders, and the second building their ideas into prototypes. 15 of the 18 new ventures have a female founder.
An impressive list of fellows, experts and speakers guided the entrepreneurs in creating the 17 ventures. Over the coming three months, Zinc is looking to this community to help the new businesses find the investors, partners and supporters they need to help them succeed.
Zinc formally announces details of its next mission soon, opening recruitment to a second programme in the autumn, that is widely expected to focus on second chances in life.
Zinc’s 17 mission one ventures
Adia – disrupting and modernising obstetrics with a personal companion empowering couples with science, accessible health experts, personalised emotional support and wellness services to thrive on their journey to having a healthy baby
Amble – a ‘Waze for pedestrians’ enabling women to navigate cities safely and confidently via customised maps that optimise for safe routes using publicly available data and real-time reporting
BetterSpace – intelligent platform enabling people to quickly find the right strategy to improve their mental health by matching them to the right clinical or non-clinical service
Bold Health – digital therapeutic platform leveraging cognitive behavioural and relaxation therapies to help patients with stress-related functional chronic conditions (starting with IBS) to better manage and treat their physical and mental health
Dialoguers – delivering a network-based talk therapy that provides five times better results than the NHS with a tenth of the relapse rate, as it builds an AI solution that will make it available to anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any issue
Gilda – membership service helping older adults live more active, social and independent lives. Gilda bundles and augments existing technologies and services, delivered face-to-face by personal coordinators and through an in-home voice platform
Goozby – empowering kids to be the boss of their devices, launching with the first app to rewards kids for taking breaks from their device
Leika – empowering women to explore their bodies and to communicate what brings them sexual pleasure through the encouragement and assistance of a flirty, responsive, and voice-enabled virtual personality
Levell – providing practical tools for employees to help them prevent their own burn-out, and to employers the insights to build better, more caring organisations, resulting in happier and more productive workforce
ONiGO – interactive experiences for mental and physical fitness, ONiGO creates immersive adventures on your smartphone, where your team completes missions in the outdoors
Project Kitchen Table – conversation partner built on voice and immersive tech, designed to help individuals speak their minds and break the generational cycle of poor communication and mental health.
Resilio – AI matching people to lifestyle and therapy knowledge in a tailored skills-based programme, developing virtual consultation access to experts, starting with stress management, self-esteem, insomnia, anger and smoking
Squad – social approach to money delivered via a group messaging platform that enables friends to save together for dream experiences by automatically saving each time they spend. Launching with social microsaving, before adding group discounts, payments, investing and more
Tile – micro-video platform that teaches life skills in seconds. Provides users with the tools and space to create, consume, and share highly educational micro-videos in seconds, exactly when they need them
Uniq – matching the right medicine to every woman, based on her medical history, hormonal and genetic profiles, and self-tracked data, starting with contraceptives
Zentor – reframing how we think of retirement by facilitating transition out of work through a digital platform to explore, join and create activities, and to find like-minded individuals to enjoy a fulfilling life
Zone – fast-tracking people to their desired state of mind, on demand and using newly composed music that adapts to the user. Created with innovative musicians and powered by science and artificial intelligence.
Article amended May 2 to reflect final cohort numbers. To hear how the new Zinc businesses are progressing, join ‘show and tell’ sessions on either April 12 or May 18.