Life+ Collective launches GBP140k funding programme for underrepresented founders

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The Life+ Collective is on a mission to bring consumer-tech founders together, and to provide a pathway into the b2c industry for entrepreneurs from under-represented backgrounds. The Life+ team is keen to ensure ‘happiness’ is baked-in to consumer-facing startups at the outset. 

Using funding from Isomer Capital, Life+ has announced a new grant programme. The Life+ Collective grant programme will offer grants of up to GBP20,000 to seven founding teams at pre-seed and seed stage. It is equity free money, to be used to help the business experiment and drive forward progress. In addition to cash, Life+ will offer three months of wraparound support to the companies, including guidance from workshop mentors, including CEO of Black Girl Festival and angel investor Nicole Crentstil and performance coach Freddie Birley. 

Bringing a greater Diversity to Consumer Tech 

The ambition of the programme is to bring new b2c founders into the industry, and to provide founders that would otherwise be excluded from the conversation with enough cash to start their business, and to experiment with new ideas. By bringing new ideas and interesting voices to the table, the goal is to push the entire b2c industry forward. 

Life+ is keen to source the applicants from the broadest possible pool, as they are very aware the founders from underrepresented backgrounds do not necessarily have access to the typical tech networks. To remedy this, Life+ has developed partnerships with organisations that have deep and relevant networks, such as Black Ballad, Diversity VC, Universities in and outside of London, and various mentor networks. 

Savs Tan, Co-Founder of The Life+ Collective, says: “Europe hasn’t ‘cracked’ consumer tech yet. There are many factors at play. One is that the continent doesn’t yet possess the networks and expertise to push the consumer sector forward, nor do founders have a place to share learnings and lessons. 

“However, another huge factor is that so many potentially brilliant founders are excluded from starting companies in the first place. It can still be prohibitively expensive to start a company and some founders don’t have the option to bootstrap. Our experience has shown us that many founders who are building consumer companies happen to be women or non-binary. As previous work into ‘warm introductions’ in the VC industry has demonstrated, these people regularly struggle to raise money from traditional VCs. With this in mind, imagine the number of companies that haven’t come to exist because of network, cash, and therefore the ability to experiment is not possible? That’s what we hope to address.” 

Putting ‘Happiness’ at the centre of Consumer Tech innovation 

As mentioned, the programme is also keen to ensure that ‘happiness’ is a huge part of consumer-facing innovation. The issue is that in the ‘move-fast-and-break-things’ world of tech innovation, it can be forgotten that a diverse pool of real users will interact with the solution when it is in the market. Therefore, ensuring that the experience is both simple and joyful can ensure that a product spreads happiness and, from a business perspective, is far more attractive to potential users. 

Savs Tan, Co-Founder of The Life+ Collective, says: “We need to remember that consumer-facing innovations are used by people, not robots nor corporations. Some of the sectors that we are most interested in – wellbeing, food, beauty, fashion, gaming, pet care, sexual wellness, death tech and more – have brought solace to people during the tough times over the last year or so. Therefore, we need to make sure that the teams developing these technologies put users, and ‘happy users’, at the centre of their processes when they’re creating new products, and the businesses that deliver them”.