WorkerTech newsletter: November 2021

The latest update from Resolution Ventures


Although this is the last newsletter of the year, it is jam-packed with opportunities and resources for WorkerTech founders, not least because applications for BGV’s Tech for Good programme starting in Spring 2022 opened yesterday!

Resolution Ventures partners with BGV to back WorkerTech ventures through their 12-week Tech for Good programme. We want to help founders develop strong WorkerTech applications, so in this edition we’ve curated a list of toolkits, events, and guides to support the future founders of our portfolio.

As always, if you have any suggestions for our newsletter or want to know more about any of the content, please get in touch via

Ventures Manager
Resolution Ventures

Exploring WorkerTech in Manchester together (online)

We’re delighted to invite you to an event bringing the Manchester (and wider) community together to discuss and explore new technologies that help shape a fairer future of work.

We’ll be joined by expert speakers who’ll provide us with tangible insights into how we might leverage new technologies to improve the working conditions and pay for those in low-paid or precarious work. We will also hear from Manchester-based folk speak about the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter and join a broader discussion about building WorkerTech ventures in the region.

While this event is focused on innovation in Manchester, anyone interested in WorkerTech is welcome to join us online. Register here.

Resources for Workertech founders

We’re excited to support potential founders to make strong applications for BGV’s programme and also direct investment from Resolution Ventures so that we can back more brilliant WorkerTech ideas and improve the world of work for low-paid workers.

To kick off the call for applications, we’ve curated a list of resources and guides to help founders design and develop winning ideas, starting with our recently launched WorkerTech Dispatch: a series of blogs on the problem areas and market opportunities for WorkerTech, how to conduct user research with low-income workers, different considerations for incorporation, how to validate your impact as a WorkerTech venture, and much more.

Alongside our Dispatch, there is a whole host of tools to support founders to build impactful start-ups. Some of our favourites are:

  • WorkerTech and low pay – this research from the Resolution Foundation on low-paid workers and their experiences of work and the labour market highlights where WorkerTech can have impact. Founders can use this research to identify groups, sectors and issues that they can tackle with their ideas.
  • Social venture canvas – an open source tool made for entrepreneurs who want to build impactful businesses and map out the early building blocks of their venture. It has been used successfully by our portfolio ventures, TaskHer and Curo, who are graduates of BGV’s Tech for Good programme.
  • Nesta’s DIY Toolkit – a collection of 30 practical social innovation tools that founders can use to help them identify and define problems, scaling solutions and evaluating impact.
  • Y Combinator start up library – a multi-media library for start-up founders with content on almost any topic a founder might need. A good place to start is the Start Up School core curriculum of tools and guides.
  • Office hours – talk to us! We’re running virtual drop-in sessions on Friday 10 December for founders interested in applying for BGV’s programme with a WorkerTech idea. Register for a slot here.

Latest insights from the Resolution Foundation

  • No shame, no gain? – this briefing note explores how powerfully reputational concerns determine firms’ behaviour when it comes to worker rights. It finds that reputational tools must be seen as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, financial penalties: raising the fines imposed on firms that violate labour market rules, and increasing their chance of detection remain critical policy levers.
  • Are you better off today? – a spotlight on real household income growth. Since 1955, real household disposable income has risen by just over 2 per cent a year on average: so a parliament of four or five years should deliver income growth of around 10 per cent. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s latest forecasts suggest the current parliament could deliver the worst growth rate on record, as the post-financial-crisis income stagnation continues.
  • Begin again? – an analysis of the current labour market showing that the pandemic has not led to mass unemployment as many feared, but has instead driven wider shifts that have increased employment among younger women, but pushed many men and older workers out of the labour market altogether.

Workertech stories

Resolution Ventures has made a follow-on investment in Breakroom, the people powered job comparison site. Breakroom compares employers using crowdsourced data and ratings from workers. Breakroom supports people to choose better paid jobs with better working conditions such as paid breaks and flexible shift patterns, while forcing employers to see how they compare to their rivals, encouraging them to raise standards.

Last week the Living Wage Foundation announced the new Real Living Wage: £9.90 for the UK and £11.05 for London. The Resolution Foundation calculates the rates annually using a number of variables that reflect living standards and household composition across the UK.

A new poll commissioned by Fairwork, the research project dedicated to improving platform work, found that the majority of the UK population support policy to make the gig economy fairer. From monitoring of gig platforms, and mandatory negotiation with trade unions that represent workers, to transparency on technology being used to monitor and manage platform workers, the poll highlights current consumer opinion. But, it is still not clear if this is enough to change the way platforms treat workers.

The Learning and Work Institute has updated and published its Better Work Network Map. The map increases the visibility of valuable initiatives supporting workers into better work, and strengthens the links between providers and stakeholders working across this area. The Learning and Work Institute are seeking to update the map, so get in touch to add your initiative.

Get involved

  • Bethnal Green Ventures‘ call for applications is now open for their next 12-week Tech for Good Programme which starts in Spring 2022. Resolution Ventures backs a number of pre-product or pre-revenue WorkerTech ventures each cycle. Sign up for one of the Q&A events here, register for office hours here, and submit your application here.
  • 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.
  • Join the WorkerTech meetup group, a network of people working in the sector. Next year we’ll be hosting a series of events for this group investigating technology and a fairer world of work.
  • Did you miss our Director of Ventures, Louise Marston, speaking at Ufi’s Week of VocTech event last week on financing the solutions of the future? Watch again here.
  • Portfolio venture, Breakroom, are recruiting for a number of roles in their product, engineering and marketing teams. Join their team to support their mission to create quality hourly work for everyone.
  • Year Here is now taking applications for their next cohort starting in February 2022. Year Here is a 10 month social impact programme that gives participants multiple opportunities to build smart, scalable responses to some of society’s toughest challenges – low-pay included. Some of our portfolio founders started their WorkerTech journey on the programme.