Peer-to-peer agri-tech venture WeFarm led the tech for good honours at last night’s Europas Awards in London, in a ceremony that saw several businesses working for social purpose recognised for their efforts. Impact tech is now firmly centre stage. Julian Blake reports.
Tech-driven farming network WeFarm topped a year of growth by winning the ‘hottest tech for good’ category at the prestigious Europas awards in London last night.
It was one of several digital projects recognised by judges for their work on delivering social impact – providing more evidence that impact technology is now very much a part of the mainstream.
London-founded WeFarm had already secured $1.6m in seed funding from Saul Klein’s LocalGlobe in 2016, on top of an earlier $2.9m series A funding round.
The social enterprise helps small-scale farmers to access and share information, even with limited internet access, thanks to using SMS as well as the internet.
WeFarm deploys machine learning to connect questions to other users within its network holding the right knowledge. The peer-to-peer service operates in Kenya, Uganda and Peru. It has well over 200,000 users and nearly 24m messages through its system.
WeFarm also secured $200,000 last year from the Chivas Regal-backed competition The Venture. WeFarm, which was founded in 2015 after spinning out from an NGO, operates out of TechHub in London.
The Europas, now in its ninth year, brought together over 500 leading lights from the London and continental startup and investor community for a day conference and evening awards ceremony at Here East on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as part of London Tech Week.
Also recognised among the 28-strong Europas winners was Babylon Health, which picked up hottest health startup. Its Europa gong follows success at DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards in March, where it won best health award.
In April Babylon secured £50m in investment from an international consortium to develop its AI-driven healthcare platform.
Benevolent.ai, disrupting drug discovery through data and AI, picked up the hottest AI startup Europa.
POD Point, which provides charging stations for electric vehicles, picked up the hottest greentech startup, adding to a brilliant year so far that has seen it secure £9m in funding from Draper Esprit on top of crowdfunding.
Health tech startup Elvie, which provides pelvic exercise support for women post-pregnancy, secured hottest hardware startup. It secured $6m in funding from Octopus Ventures in March.
Oslo-founded Kahoot, using games to boost learning, picked up the hottest eduction startup.
Europa founder Butcher confirmed that proceeds from the event would support victims of this month’s London Bridge terror attack – and he appealed for support for the family and work of tech entrepreneur James McMullan, who was among those killed on June 3.
Europas 2017 – winners
Hottest media/entertainment startup
Hottest e-commerce/retail startup
Hottest education startup
Hottest startup accelerator
Hottest marketing/adtech startup
Hottest games startup
Space Ape Games
Hottest mobile startup
Hottest fintech startup
Hottest enterprise, SaaS or B2B startup
Hottest hardware startup
Hottest platform economy/marketplace
Hottest health startup
Hottest cyber security startup
Hottest blockchain/crypto startup
Hottest travel startup
Hottest internet of things startup
Hottest technology innovation
Hottest fashiontech startup
Hottest greentech startup of the year
Hottest tech for good
Fastest rising startup of the year
Hottest AI startup
Best angel/seed investor of the year
Hottest VC investor of the year
Alex Macpherson, Octopus Investments
Hottest CEO of the year
Gareth Williams, Skyscanner
Hottest startup founder
Tom Blomfield, Monzo
Hall of fame award
Wendy and Joe White
Europas grand prix award