London’s top tech startups awarded £15,000 to tackle city's challenges
Firms lauded for innovative solutions across climate change, access to housing, dementia and isolation among vulnerable Londoners
Eight of London’s most innovative tech firms have won financial backing from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as they work on developing solutions to some of the capital’s most pressing social and environmental problems.
The winners of the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge (CIC) were announced at an awards ceremony at City Hall – each has been given £15,000 to jointly test and refine their ideas with a group of public and private sector partners.
More than 100 applicants were whittled down to a shortlist of 14 companies, which further developed their ideas in response to seven challenges set out by the Mayor when he launched the contest at this year’s London Tech Week.
The challenges are designed to help tackle some of the most pressing issues for Londoners, including accessing affordable housing, reducing the harmful effect of dementia, cleaning up our air by promoting electric vehicles and helping people lead healthier, more active lives by increasing their physical activity.
The Civic Innovation Challenge was launched in June as part of the Mayor’s Smarter London Together roadmap, which sets out how he will realise his ambition for London to become the world’s leading smart city.
He has been clear that the progress which has been made in this area should be built on and London must continue to use data and smart technology to meet the needs of Londoners.
Sadiq has brought together a range of corporate partners, along with delivery partner Bethnal Green Ventures, to offer the companies valuable mentoring and support as they develop their solutions.
The eight winners are:
- Dementia: Pearl Support Network (partner: Our Healthier South East London STP):
- Active Travel: Go Jauntly (partner: TfL)
- Electric Vehicles: Connected Kerb (partners: National Grid and Shell)
- Affordable Housing: VU.CITY and Crossmap (partner: TfL)
- Financial Inclusion: Quids In! (partner: Lloyds Banking Group)
- Loneliness and Isolation: Buddyhub (partner: Hackney Council):
- Physical Activity: Elemental – The Social Prescribing People (partner: Ealing Council)
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Many of London’s advances in the application of data and smart technologies are recognised around the world and I want London to become a global test-bed for civic innovation.
“I’m delighted to be able to match the winners of the Civic Innovation Challenge with established public bodies and private companies, and I am confident they will go on to deliver exciting solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing Londoners every day.
“The fact that our city’s tech community is home to some of the most creative businesses anywhere in the world is something of which we can be really proud. We want London to be the world’s smartest city and these dynamic companies have a crucial role to play.”
Partner at Bethnal Green Ventures, Jessica Stacey, said: “Over the next few months the eight winning startups will be testing their solutions together with big corporates and public bodies.
“This competition has been a blueprint for getting these big institutions to collaborate with startups to tackle some of London’s major challenges. We’re excited to see what happens next.”
Director of Transport Strategy at Transport for London, Lilli Matson, said: “Many congratulations to the winners of this fantastic challenge. We’ve seen many innovative examples of how small businesses and startups can help tackle the real challenges that cities face in the future.
“Once developed, these final products will help London prosper by delivering more homes and offering better options to encourage more journeys to be made by walking, cycling and public transport.”
Project Manager for Community Based Care at Our Healthier South East London, Laura Donegani, said: “This process was extremely helpful as it exposed us to innovative solutions and organisations which we wouldn’t have had access to outside of the traditional health and care system.
“We’re really excited to work with an organisation that will develop personalised reminiscence resources celebrating our local BME community, history and culture. Service users will be involved in development and we aim to promote more diversity in technology to address inequalities.”
Notes to editors
TfL: Active Travel
Reducing pollution and unnecessary car journeys
- Go Jauntly is a free, community-based walking discovery app whose mission is to make walking an attractive pastime again. For this Challenge they have developed an Augmented Reality prototype to explore how immersive technology can encourage people to walk more.
National Grid and Shell: Electric Vehicles
Preparing London for zero emissions transport
- Connected Kerb are developing smart charge points that provide a solution for Urban City streets allowing EV users the ability to freely and cheaply charge their vehicles.
Our Healthier South East London STP: Dementia Services
Ensuring dementia care works for all
- Pearl Support Network are working to make reminiscence sessions more culturally relevant to members of the BME community in the UK. Their solution will enable those affected by or living with dementia to find comfort and joy by using a series of tools, music, memorabilia, and activities made available through their software and online services.
Lloyds Banking Group: Financial Inclusion and Digital Skills
Ensuring all Londoners can manage their money well.
- Quids In! Readers Club started as a magazine to help people on low incomes find ways to make their money go further. For this Challenge, they have made a prototype ’money email service' to offer advice on benefits (especially Universal Credit), income maximisation, budgeting, banking and making the most of the internet.
Hackney Council: Loneliness and Isolation
Making London the most socially integrated city in the world
- BuddyHub is a friendship club offering a personalised service to create a new social circle, which they call a Friendship Wheel, in which they carefully match seniors with three Buddies, who share their interests, and who live no more than a 30 minute walk or cycle ride away. They plan to apply technology to create a state-of-the-art befriending type service to significantly expand provision in Hackney.
Ealing Council: Physical Activity
Making London the world’s most active city
- Elemental Software are looking to connect people with physical activity and wellness in their local community that suits their ability level, budget, location and availability. They will use their innovative referral making and referral tracking technology which simplifies and streamlines the process of connecting citizens from a range of agents across Ealing and the Council.
TfL: Delivering Affordable Homes
Ensuring housing is available for all
- VU.CITY are combining the power of data with the largest 3D digital model of London to build an interactive platform built on game engine technology, to produce a tool to help housing developers and local authorities understand the implications of changes in the built environment.
- Crossmap is a web tool to visualise and extract insight from geo-localised data dedicated to the built environment. It comprises of an intelligence module and a visualisation interface, which lets you orientate through complex datasets on an interactive map with the possibility of cross-querying different data layers.
- For full details of the Civic Innovation Challenge, the shortlisted companies and their projects, see: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/business-and-economy/supporting-londons-sectors/supporting-tech-and-digital-sectors/mayor-londons-civic-innovation-challenge.
- For more information on the Smarter London Together roadmap, see: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/business-and-economy/supporting-londons-sectors/smart-london/smarter-london-together.
- For more information on Bethnal Green Ventures, see: https://bethnalgreenventures.com.