Vodafone UK has announced the winners of the inaugural Vodafone Techstarter awards, which celebrate and support start-ups developing technology solutions with a social purpose. The Techstarter programme has been created in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation and the Social Tech Trust, the UK’s leading dedicated supporter of socially motivated tech ventures.
The ventures use a range of technologies, from mobile apps and the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence and blockchain. The winners were revealed as Code 4000, Full Fact, The Children’s Society and Wayfindr in the not-for-profit category; and Alice SI, Blakbear, Lettus Grow and Walk With Path and in the for-profit category. TheTechstarter Champion’s award – voted for by Vodafone employees – went to The Children’s Society and LettUs Grow.
In addition to sharing a prize fund of £300,000, winners will benefit from access to industry and technology expertise from Vodafone and the Social Tech Trust, enabling them to take their innovations from prototype to market readiness. This will include coaching, mentoring and commercial advice.
Vodafone Techstarter Not-for-Profit Award Winners (supported by the Vodafone Foundation)
· Code4000 UK CIC (Hampshire) – Code4000’s Global Prison Curriculum provides vocational training in computer programming, with a view to enhancing the employability of ex-offenders and helping to reduce reoffending.
· Full Fact (London) – Automated fact-checking tools enable Full Fact to help prevent the spread of fake news, and even identify and fact check some claims automatically in real time.
· The Children’s Society (London) – The Children’s Society Reality Check programme pioneers the use of immersive virtual reality environments to help children manage and overcome anxiety.
· Wayfindr (London) – Wayfindr uses smartphone technology to give vision-impaired people the power to navigate complex indoor environments independently.
Vodafone Techstarter For-Profit Award Winners (supported by Vodafone Business)
· Alice SI Ltd (London) – Alice is a funding platform for social and environmental projects that promotes data transparency using blockchain technology. Alice allows donors and investors to track exactly what impact their money makes, while reducing reporting costs for charities.
· BlakBear Ltd (London) – BlakBear Agri uses new sensors and software to increase the yield farmers can get from their land to feed a growing world sustainably. It combines electrochemical sensing innovations with statistical algorithms to understand soil nitrogen levels and provide optimal nitrogen fertilisation instructions.
· LettUs Grow (Bristol) – LettUs Grow designs aeroponic farming technology and farm management software for indoor and vertical farms to help deliver higher crop yields and reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.
· Walk With Path Ltd (Essex) – Path Feel is an insole that acts in real time by vibrating in response to pressure. This results in the user being able to feel the floor and stay balanced. It also tracks walking to aid diagnosis.