Share This Story
Sign up to our newsletter
and keep up to date with all the latest news and developments from Nominet Trust.
Founders Forum For Good
Tech entrepreneurs have already changed the world, transforming how we work, how we communicate, how we shop. Imagine if these entrepreneurs focused their talents on big social challenges, using tech to devise radically new solutions to social care, child welfare, poverty, education and climate change.
At Nominet Trust, we believe it's time to make this happen. In 2013 we announced a partnership with Founders Forum For Good to challenge entrepreneurs to focus their talent and technology on accelerating social change.
Big Data for Big Impact
On 21st November Nominet Trust, in partnership with Founders Forum For Good hosted an afternoon of discussions with among others, Dr. Mike Lynch OBE, Sir Tim Berners-Lee & Edwina Dunn about Big Data and what it means for charitable organisations and social enterprises.
During the event, Duncan Ross, CEO of DataKind UK and author of Nominet Trust's State of Art Review: Big Data and Social Organisations discussed how Big Data can be used to improve Social enterprises and their services. You can find out what happened in our Storify of the event.
The Social Tech, Social Change Challenge
In addition to funding, each venture has been matched to a mentor from the Founders Forum For Good network who will play a crucial role in developing the early-stage ideas into profitable, scalable ventures by lending their skills and knowledge of specific markets. The mentors will help the projects grow and will be there to offer both advice and hands-on support throughout the duration of the year-long programme.
The Social Tech, Social ventures that have been awarded funding and mentorship are:
|Funded organisation||Project idea||Mentor|
|Benkyo Player Ltd||A set of tools that improve both access to and attainment in online video learning||Berhnard Niesner|
|Commonplace Digital Ltd||a digital product that engages people in shaping their community||Gi Fernando|
|London Rebuilding Society||a new income maximisation and energy saving solution||Richard Brass|
|SpeakSet||a set-top box, designed specifically for the elderly to combat isolation. It allows video calling through a TV without needing the internet||Max Alexander & Brent Hoberman|
|Open Utility Ltd||the world’s first peer-to-peer energy marketplace||John Hunt|
|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||Christian Hernandez|
|Specialisterne||to create a bridge between individuals with autism and organisations that require their unique skills||Johnny Hornby|
|Virtually Free Ltd||an app to help sufferers of agoraphobia||Barry Smith|
|Adept Communications||an app that allows carers to monitor activity and medication taking of an elderly person when they are not with them||Virraj Jatania|
|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||Ralph Simon & Brent Hoberman|
|Data Unity||a free, easy-to-use data visualisation tool for social organisations||Luuk Remmen|
|EqualEyes||a suite of accessible mobile applications to support the elderly||Jim Fruchterman|
|REyooz||a community driven social gifting platform to encourage re-use of items otherwise destined for landfill||Sir Tim Smit|
|National Extension College||a provider of low-cost solar-powered learning devices and content for distance learning||Nick Evans-Lombe|
|Reason Digital||a smartphone app for improving the safety of the vulnerable||Mark Harvey|
|The Crowd Works||a peer-based recruitment platform matching your LinkedIn contacts’ skills with open job roles||Harry Briggs|
|Wevolver||a collaborative development platform for open source hardware projects|
View related press releases
The Social Tech, Social Change Mentors
Virraj completed his degree in Management at UCL in 2009 and worked in banking at both Merrill Lynch and Barclays Wealth.
Virraj launched his first business venture, Pockit in November 2011. IT is a leading prepaid MasterCard provider that helps UK consumers to manage and save money through exclusive deals negotiated for cardholders. Virraj’s focus within the business is negotiating exclusive deals for Pockit cardholders and shaping the technological strategy.
Bernhard is the CEO & Co-founder of busuu.com, the world's largest social network for language learning with more than 30m registered users.
He graduated in International Business from the University of Vienna and holds an MBA from IE Business School where he is also an Associate Professor in online marketing. Bernhard originally comes from Vienna, Austria and has recently relocated together with busuu.com to London.
Gi is an entrepreneurial engineer and recognised expert on social media, big data and education 2.0. Investor in tech start-ups and the creative industries. He founded social technology leader Techlightenment (sold Experian plc), which built the first ad API for Facebook. Previously set up Peer (sold to Tweetdeck) and Western Consulting.
Luuk is a private equity investor with Cyrte Investments, a thematic investment boutique based in the Netherlands. Cyrte invests globally in the companies and industries that are likely to profit the most from shifts in consumer spending power and is a leading investor in the content & digital spaces. At Cyrte, Luuk led Cyrte’s investments in bol.com and Emesa. Prior to joining Cyrte, Luuk worked in Mergers & Acquisitions at Morgan Stanley, based in London. He has a MSc in Business Administration, a MSc in Economics and a LLM in Financial Law.
Jim is a leading social entrepreneur and CEO of Benetech, a nonprofit technology company based in Silicon Valley. He is a former rocket scientist who develops technology to address unmet social needs.
Fruchterman founded Benetech in 1989 to produce reading machines for people who are blind. Since then, Benetech’s work has grown to include multiple program areas and now develops technology for people with disabilities, as well as the human rights and environmental movements. In recognition of his work, Fruchterman has received numerous awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. He believes that technology has the power to improve—even transform—the lives of people all across the world.
Harry joined Balderton Capital in 2009. Balderton is one of Europe’s largest VC funds, and an early investor in e.g., Betfair, MySQL, Lovefilm, Wonga and Natural Motion. Harry has been involved with Balderton's investments in Tictail, Memrise, Medicanimal, Achica and TheHutGroup.
Prior to Balderton, Harry co-founded Firefly Tonics, a health drinks company, in 2002. It remains a luxury brand sold in 35 countries. Prior to Firefly, Harry was at McKinsey & Co. in London and New York, advising businesses on branding, marketing, and portfolio improvement.
Outside work, Harry founded a choir that have performed onstage with the Rolling Stones.
Tim worked for ten years in the music industry as a composer/producer. In 1987 he ‘discovered’ and restored the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Until recently, Tim was Chief Executive and Co-founder of The Eden Project in Cornwall. Since 2000, Eden has received more than 13 million visitors who came to what was once a sterile pit turned a cradle of life containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture. Eden has contributed over £1 billion to the Cornish economy.
Richard is a member of the management team of Berenberg’s UK private banking business, where he is responsible for family office and entrepreneur advisory services. Richard is the co-founder of Impact Ventures UK (a growth capital social investment fund) and sits on the Investors Panel for the Social Investment Business’s Investment Contract and Readiness Fund. He is a Director of the Montpelier Foundation, which supports charities and social enterprises primarily in Emerging Markets and is a Director and Advisory Council member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Max is currently Executive Director of Television and Online at TalkTalk. Max joined as Director of Television in October 2009, having previously worked at Trinity Mirror as MD for Strategy and Innovation. Previous engagements also include The Carphone Warehouse, where Max was the first MD of TalkTalk and also for Sky TV in business development and as Director of Internet Distribution.
Brent co-founded PROfounders Capital in 2009 – an early stage fund backed by entrepreneurs for digital entrepreneurs. He is Chairman/cofounder of made.com, a direct-from-factory consumer crowd-sourced homewares retailer in the Europe.
Most recently alongside PROfounders Capital he joined the board of easyCar.com (person-to-person car sharing). Brent co-founded lastminute.com in April 1998. He was CEO from its inception and the team took the company to profit and gross bookings of over $2bn. lastminute.com acquired 14 businesses after the IPO to supplement the annual growth of the core brand which was over 100% from 1998 – 2004. In 2005 lastminute.com was sold to Sabre for $1.1bn.
Brent is on the ICA Council and a Non- Executive Board Director of Guardian Media Group, TalkTalk PLC & Shazam. Brent also sits on the UK Government Digital Advisory Board, is a Senior Advisor to Lepe Partners, a YGL, a UK Business Trade Ambassador and a Fellow (Governor) of Eton College.
After an initial stint at Hambros Bank in the early 1990s where I met Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein, I started at Getty Images in 1996. Key roles there included leading the acquisition process as we initially grew the business by consolidating the image industry, forming and growing our editorial business organically to become the world's leading player, and acting as Chief Operating Officer from 2008 to 2013 during the successful ownership of the business by Hellman and Friedman.
John is Founder and Chairman of private investment holding company Archimedia, which invests in the technology, real estate and consumer sectors. Current investments include Aman Resorts, le Chameau, Made.com, Moncler, Virgin Mobile Latin America and Wally.
John is a serial entrepreneur who has created or co-created companies with a combined market value of over $1 billion. He started as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble and VP Marketing at Kraft General Foods (Diageo).
His entrepreneurial activities started as co-founder of Seattle Coffee Company (espresso store chain) acquired by Starbucks and founder of Syzygy (e-commerce consulting) funded by WPP then floated on the German Stock market.
He moved to California to found Obongo (e-commerce software) with backing from Sequoia Capital which he ran until it was acquired by AOL Time Warner.
He then moved to New York where he created two privately held ventures and one publicly listed venture.
Christian has over 16 years of operating experience in technology companies, developing and scaling products and businesses internationally. Prior to co-founding White Star Capital, Christian worked at Facebook and led the international expansion of the company’s Business Development, Platform and Gaming Partnerships groups. He previously held leadership roles in the US and Europe at Google and Microsoft and started his career in technology at MicroStrategy, a start-up he joined prior to its 1999 IPO. Christian has worked closely with entrepreneurs and leading VCs and has been an active angel investor and advisor. He serves on the Board of Advisors of Seedcamp and the Digital Task force for the EVCA.
Christian holds a degree in Economics from Duke University and an MBA from The Wharton School. Born in El Salvador and having grown up across the Latin America, the US and Europe, he now resides in London with his wife and three children.
Mark Harvey is the Executive Director of Internews Europe (www.internews.eu), an international development organization that specializes in supporting independent media and free information flows in fragile states, emerging democracies and some of the world’s poorest countries. In humanitarian crises, working in partnership with local media and aid providers, Internews aims to saves lives and fulfill people’s right to access information, ask questions, and participate in their own relief and recovery.
After graduating from Edinburgh University Johnny became a graduate trainee at Ogilvy & Mather. In June 2001 he set up Clemmow Hornby Inge, now CHI&Partners, and now has British Gas, Lexus, Carphone Warehouse, Burger King and Argos on the client list. Since 2007 with WPP becoming a minority partner in the business he has now launched M/Six, a full service media agency backed by Group M which now has over £100 million in billings handling the likes of Britvic, Virgin, News International and Talk Talk; CHI & Partners NY, a fast growing US business with the likes of Samsung and Direct Energy, and recently launched The Social Practice in London. Johnny's latest venture is the creation of a new venture, Bates CHI&partners in Asia, 14 offices and 1000 people linked to the London and New York offices of CHI to create a more nimble alternative to the established global advertising networks.
Johnny is also a Governor of Marlborough College, a trustee of the English Heritage Foundation and on the boards of Monitise and Prince Harry’s Sentebale charity.
Ralph Simon is one of the founders of the global mobile entertainment and social content industry. Prominent mobile visionary & innovator, known as "the father of the ring tone". Created the world's first international commercial ring tone platform service business. CEO of Mobilium Global, the international mobile cool hunters & founders. Has a unique understanding of what drives world-wide mobile innovation and multi-screen creativity, & always at the forefront of the latest global mobile business opportunities. Founded and grew Zomba/Jive Records to become world's major indie music label and publisher. One of the world's top 50 executives in mobile since 2005. Mobile producer of Live 8, Al Gore's Live Earth & global wireless , apps, creativity and devices for "screen-agers'. Expert on mobile health/wellness. Global ambassador for CTIA and Mobile World Congress. Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Barry Smith is Co-Founder of Skyscanner - the largest travel search site outside the US and the fastest-growing worldwide - with over 75 million searches/month and over 25 million mobile app downloads, resulting in more than $3 billion in downstream revenues to partners each year.
With Skyscanner starting in 2003, Barry was responsible for all Business Development, Sales, Marketing and SEO during the "early years", as well as taking on all Mobile Distribution responsibilities in 2011 when the first Skyscanner app launched.
Skyscanner now employs over 300 people and is based in Edinburgh, UK with offices in Singapore, Beijing and more recently, Miami.
Barry also spends a lot of his time mentoring and advising other technology startup businesses, watching his much-loved Liverpool Football Club and drinking far too much coffee.
Since 1998, Charles has been the co-founder of over twenty businesses, largely technology related, all set up with his business partner Manoj Badale, which they manage through their investment company Blenheim Chalcot.
Charles and Manoj's first venture was netdecisions group, an internet services provider, which evolved into a broad based 2000 person IT and Business Process Outsourcing business, now trading as Agilisys. While starting netdecisions, they co-founded a number of internet startups - the First Resort (sold to TUI), mad about wine (sold to Fosters), woowho (sold to match.com) and produxion.com (sold to EMAP). They also co-founded the technology companies such as Fluency (sold to Venture Capitalists), Eviivo (sold to Investcorp), and Steeltrace (sold to Compuware).
In financial services, they co-founded TDX Group (a specialist debt management group), Clear Start (sold to Fairpoint plc), Inplaymaker (online gaming), Grove Capital (specialist consumer debt fund), Oakbrook Finance (consumer finance) and BMS Finance (small business lending group).
In media, they co-founded the Rights Company (sold to Warner Music) and Charles sits on the board of the Rajasthan Royals IPL cricket franchise.
Blenheim Chalcot also owns Home Learning College, the country's largest online vocational learning provider. They are expanding their activities in education through Arch, an apprenticeships training business.
Charles is also involved in charitable activities. Charles is a founding trustee of Operation Smile UK, and the Chairman of the Charity Technology Trust (a social enterprise which works with over 10,000 charities helping them with technology and online fund-raising).