12 new purpose-driven start-ups join Virgin StartUp’s Collective Impact programme
Virgin StartUp has announced the latest cohort of its Collective Impact programme, which helps purpose-driven businesses to prepare for investment.
Run in partnership with Crowdcube and, with support from Tribe First, Capital Pilot, Finerva, Marlborough House Partners and more, the Collective Impact Programme is a six-week programme for UK start-up businesses that want to create positive change in the world and are ready to accelerate their growth through equity crowdfunding.
The programme includes one-to-one mentoring with experts, investors and other founders, as well as a series of workshops that will provide step-by-step guidance and support to help businesses on their crowdfunding journey.
Andy Fishburn, Managing Director at Virgin StartUp, comments: “Not only are we delighted to welcome these businesses to the Collective Impact programme, but we’re particularly pleased to have an equal number of men and women founders which supports Virgin StartUp’s 50/50 pledge, which we launched three years ago. It’s been a real pleasure to read through the latest Collective Impact applications and see such innovative ideas and technology being driven forward.”
The full list of businesses on Virgin StartUp’s latest Collective Impact Programme are:
Asan is a company with a mission to eradicate period poverty and increase sustainability though selling a reusable menstrual cup which gifts one to a woman in need with each purchase.
Asan founder Ira Guha said: “It's only been 3 weeks and I've gotten so much out of Collective Impact already. I feel more confident talking about my business and what we've achieved so far. My pitch deck and business model are in a much better position than a few weeks ago. I would highly recommend this programme to any social impact business looking to raise funds.”
Reborn Homeware Ltd
Reborn Homeware Ltd makes a unique range of homeware made from 100% recycled material using waste collected by Biffa. The company already has a contract with John Lewis to stock the range.
BeGenio creates ed-tech programmes and games to help children overcome math anxiety and to love Maths.
BeGenio founder Grace Olugbodi said: “The Collective Impact sessions have been profound and I am so glad that I am part of this programme. I’m very grateful for all the support and incredible work that has been put into helping us to be successful. We are only half-way through and some life-changing connections have already been made through referrals from this program, that will multiply our efforts on impact and mission at BeGenio to help children fall in love with maths globally and eliminate mathematical anxiety.”
Millicent is a fintech app that rewards users for sending, spending, saving and earning money and uses blockchain to replace outdated banking infrastructure, ultimately reducing the cost to customers.
Co-founder Kene Ezeji-Okoye said: “Despite the common thread of impact the cohort is composed of very different businesses, but the materials have been extremely relevant to us all.
“Empowering young, impact-driven, businesses with the knowledge and connections to overcome early-stage hurdles and accelerate their growth is an extremely important undertaking, and it's fantastic to see Virgin StartUp help set the stage for the next generation of mission-driven companies that combine passion and purpose with profit.”
Recognised helps people feel seen and recognised with meaningful gifts where profits are donated to powerful causes and the customer can pick the impact project they want to support.
JUST Access is a social enterprise disrupting the legal transcription sector and providing affordable legal transcription to those who can’t afford it.
Unpckd is tackling the problem of packaging waste by providing a delivery service for refills of pantry, toiletries and cleaning products in reusable and returnable containers.
TangleUK recycles end-of-life fishing nets into sustainable pet products to stop the problem of 'ghost nets'. Ghost Nets are fishing nets that have been lost, abandoned or dumped in the ocean – 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are discarded every year, making up nearly half of the plastic in the ocean.
Little Box of Books
Little Box of Books’ inclusion children’s books to help diversify children’s bookshelves at home and in school.
Director Lynsey Pollard said: “Collective Impact has given me the tools, motivation and belief I need to go out for investment. The programme has given me the confidence to challenge the thinking around diversity and inclusion and develop my business to have even more impact changing the lives of even more children. I’m really excited about everything I’ve learned and can’t recommend working with Crowdcube and Virgin StartUp Highly enough.”
Entr Tech is an education platform that re-skills individuals for employability within the tech sector.
Founder Jack Rogers said: “Business Stripped Bare was the first entrepreneur-related book I read at a young age, which lit a fire to one day launch my own start-up. I've always looked to Richard Branson as a big inspiration from a business and leadership perspective and as a pioneer for British Entrepreneurs, so I'm naturally really excited & honoured that Entr Tech was selected to join the Virgin StartUp Collective Impact programme.
“It has been invaluable to help build on our early momentum and plan for our future growth moving into 2023. From a personal perspective, I've really enjoyed the opportunity to network with other founders to discuss shared experiences and even challenges. The one-on-one coaching sessions have been a big support and the opportunity to meet investors has really given me a new perspective of what is needed to be investor ready.”
Human Nature makes delicious, healthier plant-based foods that support the environment by planting trees.
Finsu Ltd is a platform for consumers to find sustainable fashion brands all in one place.
Founder and CEO Frederik Muelke said: “Collective Impact has been so helpful on Finsu's journey, especially the direct access to leading voices from the VC, impact and operator worlds who give lots of directly actionable insights in group sessions and one-to-ones.
“As a founder, time is such a valuable commodity and sometimes it's hard to decide exactly what to invest yours in. Collective Impact is packed with six weeks of sessions that are each worth every minute. If you want to get your investor deck, financial model and brand narrative to the next level (and then some), Collective Impact is an effective way to do that without your business coming to a halt.”
Want to know more? Visit Virgin StartUp.