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Thrive is set up by Funding London, a venture capital company bridging the finance gap for early stage businesses based in London. With over a decade’s experience in supporting the startups of London through a variety of funding vehicles, Funding London sensed a need to illuminate the ever-evolving scenario of London’s early stage businesses.

Thrive features interviews with and opinion from budding entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts. A mix of contributors from all areas of the industry is desired in order to spark genuine discussion about ongoing critical issues. While it showcases the effectiveness of successful ventures, it also encourages sharing lessons learned from missteps and unsuccessful projects.

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Trends · 4 February '19

Why 2019 will be the year of Tech For Good companies

For some time now it has seemed like technology has been taking the hit for a multitude of bad things happening in society. It has been blamed for the decline of human relationships, for increasing our levels of anxiety and for reducing our attention spans, among many other accusations. It is strange as not so long ago, it seemed technology was going to save us all. With the increased attention tech for good companies have been getting recently, 2019 might just be the year technology will fall back into our good graces.

A survey published last April by Tech London Advocates revealed that 51% of professionals working in the tech sector in the city feel trust in the industry is down. However, 89% said they believe tech firms have a positive social impact on the city and are actively increasing equality. If you are not familiar with the expression “tech for good” by now, you should start getting used to it. The phrase was first popularised in the UK by Paul Miller, CEO at Bethnal Green Ventures, and can be applied to companies that, at their essence, provide a public benefit to society. They define a nexus point between social good and monetary returns which enables an effective allocation of resources to make an impact. At the centre of it all, there is a culture which permeates all parts of the company stemming from its values, morals and integrity.

The reason behind the surge of such companies is not purely altruistic; it is an answer to the market’s demands. People are growing more conscious of the harms caused by technology and are turning to companies working to do good. Consumers want to believe they are supporting corporate interests that align with theirs, and want to feel like they are making a difference with every purchase they make.

Companies with a true social impact don’t think small. They address societal problems, such as global health, food security, the environment, but not only that. Companies like this look at the human side of technology, having a genuine understanding of people’s needs first to enable social change.

One of these needs is addressing the ageing of our population. By 2040 one in seven people in the UK are projected to be aged over 75, according to a recent government report. People are living longer and the need for quality care services will increase substantially in the coming years, forcing the sector to modernise processes to meet demand. This is one of the reasons why tech for good has a special meaning when applied to the care sector. Startups working in this spectrum, like us at Edyn.Care, can do a lot when it comes to providing care to communities across the country, especially to those growing older. Advancements in technology will help the elderly to have a better quality of life as tech is driving us into an era of personal and proactive care, moving away from the traditional models of monolithic and reactive care.

Big problems need big solutions. I’ve always been told there are three types of problems in the world: small problems, which make very little impact and people are usually more enthusiastic about solving them; difficult problems, that are complex yet solvable; and impossible problems, which are better left to idealists to discuss. While people tend to avoid the difficult problems, if you focus your efforts on trying to solve them you can capitalise with limited competition. The important factor here is to ensure that the problem is complex and not impossible, with a solution that will result in doing some good to the society.