WorkerTech newsletter: March 2024

The latest update from Resolution Ventures


This month we have two funding opportunities to share with WorkerTech founders.

In February, I told you about the GLA’s No Wrong Door Open Innovation Challenge which is still open for applications until 18th April.

Today we’re also opening applications for the WorkerTech Pre-Investment Programme, a programme of grants and mentoring for early-stage WorkerTech founders. More details on how to apply below!

Ventures Manager
Resolution Foundation

WorkerTech Pre-investment Programme

Our pre-investment programme exists to provide support for early-stage WorkerTech founders who want to take the next steps towards investment readiness.

We know that accessing early-stage investment is a challenge, and we want to play a part in opening up the investment world to founders working on WorkerTech ideas.

In 2023 we worked with Shift Design and identified a gap in support for founders between idea development and successfully raising a first funding round, and piloted tailored mentoring and small grants with early-stage founders.

We are continuing this programme of support for pre-revenue and pre-product WorkerTech founders to help them work towards accessing investment. We are now looking for our next cohort of founders for pre-investment support and applications are now open until 12pm on 26th April.

Our offer 

  • A grant of £1000
  • 6 hours of tailored mentoring from a dedicated member of the Resolution Ventures team over 4 – 6 months
  • Access to Resolution Foundation research, our network of portfolio founders, and our impact investment ecosystem
  • Signposting at the end of the programme to next steps for investment or funding
  • Opportunities to apply for further support from Resolution Ventures

What we’re looking for

  • An idea for how technology can improve the experience of work for low-paid or precarious workers in the UK, focusing on a specific problem experienced by low-paid workers.
  • An idea that is pre-revenue (hasn’t made any money yet) and pre-product (technology not built yet, and although not required, you might have an idea of how it would work or a basic prototype).
  • An idea for how the solution would make money in order to become a sustainable business.

For more information about the criteria and how to apply, please visit our dedicated webpage and register for our Q&A webinar on 9th April.

Latest insights from the Resolution Foundation

A U-shaped legacy – recent trends in economic activity show that while the labour market is returning to normal post-pandemic in terms of pay growth, there is an alarming legacy of rising long-term sickness and inactivity. Policy change is needed to tackle this challenge and should be a top priority for whoever wins the next election.

Labour market outlook – this year we celebrate 25 years of the minimum wage, one of the most successful economic policies in the UK, boosting the wages of Britain’s lowest earners by £6,000 a year. The minimum wage is set to rise significantly this year to £11.44, but other pay policy areas still need improvement, for example, labour market enforcement and access to decent sick pay.

Housing outlook – a comparison of housing costs and quality across countries reveals that households in Britain are paying more than their international counterparts for smaller, poorer-quality homes. UK households pay 57% more for the same quality homes as their peers in Austria or 36% more than those in Canada. We need to see new government policy counteract the historic failure to modernise existing housing and build new homes.

WorkerTech stories

  • Rest of World reports on global tech stories, and last week they shared an interesting piece of photo journalism after asking 100 gig workers across the world about how they take a break between tasks. It’s a real insight into the effect of the platform economy on working conditions, and also highlights the communities that have sprung up in some cities due to this new type of work. For example, platforms in Indonesia operate lounges for riders with WiFi, a prayer room, and barbershops.
  • Our WorkerTech Partners, Ufi, have published their latest report with Tyton Partners on the investment landscape for vocational technology in 2023. Despite challenges in the macro-economic environment, there has been increased attention and funding for tools that use AI, and still a huge demand for solutions to support industries that have significant skills gaps such as education and healthcare.
  • The TUC ran an event earlier this month on what AI can do for unions, focusing on the balance between using AI for improved outcomes while ensuring integrity and authenticity of work. Experts presented various examples of how AI can transform unions, for example making day-to-day processes more efficient or campaigning tools that use AI to customer letters to different stakeholders.

Get involved

Apply for direct investment from Resolution Ventures. We accept applications from WorkerTech ventures on a rolling basis. Or you can book a slot in our office hours for an initial conversation.

Working on an idea for how skills and employment support could be better deployed for underrepresented Londoners? Apply to be part of the GLA’s No Wrong Door Open Innovation Challenge to develop and test your ideas across the city. Applications close on 18th April.

We’re looking for Ventures Manager to join our team to continue to support and invest in tech that improves low-paid and precarious work in the UK. You can find the job description and application form on our website. Applications close on 22nd April.