About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Mission Studio, a partnership between Nesta and Founders Factory, will create, spin out and scale new tech startups that tackle some of the UK’s most pressing social challenges. The studio aims to drive forward Nesta’s three missions: a fairer start, a healthy life and a sustainable future. We will build ventures that help narrow outcome gaps for young children, create healthier food environments and slash household carbon emissions en route to net zero.

Mission Studio will invest in three innovative new ventures each year until 2024 to help further our mission goals.

Why we're doing it

In pursuit of our three missions, Nesta's strategy identifies a key role for our organisation as a venture builder. While much of our work supports existing institutions to grow and change, new entrants are a key contributor to innovation. New for-profit ventures can more quickly and fully adopt new business models and draw on cutting-edge insights. They can also iterate and grow rapidly, with the potential to cause or inspire market transformations.

Mission Studio builds new purpose-driven, venture-backable companies and puts them on a path to delivering both meaningful social impact and attractive financial returns. Through a unique partnership, Nesta leads on impact and Founders Factory leads on commercial viability, with both organisations drawing on deep expertise to give Mission Studio’s ventures the best possible start.

How it works

By uniting Nesta and Founders Factory’s skills and expertise, we are pushing the boundaries in venture building for social good, providing new ventures with a unique platform to succeed. Mission Studio offers founders access to:

  • a venture design and build programme to go from idea to scale
  • the possibility to gain up to £300k investment to build the product and get to market
  • an expert team to offer support across every startup function
  • ability to leverage Nesta and Founders Factory’s global networks

How to get involved

From joining us as a founder with an idea to sharing your professional expertise with our ventures, find out more about how to get involved with Mission Studio.

Nesta’s Impact Investments team invests between £500k and £1m in seed-to-series-A tech start-ups that are developing innovations that align with Nesta’s three mission areas.

Do you already run a successful mission-aligned start-up and want to share learnings? Are you a heat pump engineer with eyes on the ground? Or are you running an impact venture builder and keen to connect as peers? Contact us on [email protected] to chat more.

Are you an investor eager to learn more about our studio ventures or portfolio? Reach out to us by emailing [email protected].

Mission Studio ventures

Find out more about current ventures we’re building in the Mission Studio:

EcoNest is a purpose-led sustainable property developer that will buy “leaky” homes with low energy efficiency ratings and renovate them to meet higher energy standards. EcoNest will then let the properties out to tenants, including helping them manage their energy use to reduce bills and emissions. The offering is timely given expected legislation (in 2025) that would require tenanted accommodation to meet a minimum standard of energy efficiency that many rented homes do not currently meet. EcoNest will use data and automation to identify homes that are particularly well-suited and help ensure retrofits run smoothly and are cost-efficient. The goal is to renew thousands of homes in the UK, again potentially reducing carbon emissions by millions of kg per year. Marcel Shanti joined the studio in Dec 2022 as the Founder and CEO of Econest and has since been joined by CTO Ryan Snyder.

Furbnow is a “managed marketplace” that streamlines the end-to-end process of conducting a green retrofit of your property. Over 56% of homeowners would like to make their home more energy efficient, often as part of wider home improvement, but can be held back by a lack of available information and advice, a complex and messy process of managing multiple contractors and a lack of easy access to trusted professionals. Furbnow meets this need head on through a digital platform that takes the pain out of the process and steers customers towards green retrofit solutions that ultimately reduce carbon emissions from their homes. The ultimate goal is to enable and accelerate thousands of green retrofits, each of which could lead to around 3,000kg/year reduction in CO2 emissions. Becky Lane is Founder and CEO of Furbnow and joined the studio in August 2022. More information on Furbnow's offer can be found at www.furbnow.com

The Freebird Club is a peer-to-peer social travel and homestay club for the over 50s. It offers a new and accessible way of travelling for older adults, a fun way to meet and enjoy social and cultural interaction both at home and away, and a means to unlock value in their homes and earn income in later life. Positioned at the intersection of agetech and traveltech, where the silver economy meets the sharing economy, the Freebird Club seeks to address social issues such as loneliness, disconnection and lack of later life opportunities for older adults through a tech-enabled social community model. The Freebird Club's mission is to connect, empower and enrich the lives of older adults through meaningful travel and social experiences. Peter Mangan is the founder and CEO of the Freebird Club and joined the studio in September 2022.

Martee’s is re-thinking convenience food, building a micro-market vending network to supply on-the-go customers with healthy, ready-to-eat produce.

On average, adults in the UK consume 200-300 excess calories per day, and convenience settings are hotbeds for high calorie, ultra-processed and fast food consumption which drives this. The high relative cost and limited availability of healthier fresh foods in on-the-go settings, such as workspaces and transport hubs, means even health-conscious people, when busy, often reach for what is most convenient, over-consuming nutrient-poor calories in the process.

The Martee’s concept is using smart unattended retail technology to disrupt the old-school vending industry, positioning affordable healthy produce - rather than unhealthy snacks - at the heart of convenience. The data product underlying Martee’s will ensure reliable fresh produce availability and smart merchandising, nudges and dynamic pricing techniques (honed with support from Nesta’s behavioural insights team) will combine with this to drive consistently healthier eating decisions on-the-go.

Martee’s is tackling convenience calorie overconsumption at scale, whilst delivering public venues a fully serviced food retail solution to service their communities.

Harry Slagel is a co-founder and CEO of Martee’s, and he joined the studio in March 2023. Lucy Adams joined shortly after as Co-founder and COO. Both come with experience building startups in the food technology space. More information about Martee’s can be found at Martee.co.uk.

Carno’s overall mission is to help decarbonise the European property stock. In the UK, every heat pump installation requires one to two days of admin by the installer. Carno software reduces this to a couple of hours. Carno improves the process of surveying homes and assessing their readiness for heat pump installation (this is called home survey data capture). This data forms the basis of heat loss, radiator sizing calculations. That data can then be used to produce automated documents – quotes, performance estimates, contracts for grant applications.

Carno technology also accurately estimates the cost of renewable installations as well as predicting the impact of the energy savings, so both banks and consumers know the payback periods for their capital expenditure. Carno plans to make this data available to banks to support green loans and mortgages which should further accelerate the adoption of renewables. Tim Wright is the Founder of Carno and joined Mission Studio in September 2022.

Renbee is a platform that helps high quality installers service a growing pipeline of customers to turbo charge the decarbonisation of UK homes. It's estimated that £360bn will be needed to tackle the £30M homes that contribute to 30% of UK carbon emissions yet supply of high quality installers is low and barriers to entry for traditional trades to migrate into low carbon work are high. The Renbee platform reduces the bottleneck on installers by providing end-to-end digital solutions to boost growth opportunities and embedded finance to help serve a larger number of homeowners nationally in order for UK to meet it's 2050 net zero targets.

Tej Patel is Founder and CEO of Renbee and joined the studio in February 2023. More information on Renbee can be found at www.renbee.co.uk

Speech, language and communication needs affect 20% of all children, and up to 50% of children from low income backgrounds. Because communication is a fundamental skill for learning, these children find themselves behind their peers even before they’ve started school, with children from low income backgrounds being disproportionately affected.

Unfortunately, evidence shows this inequitable attainment gap persists for these children throughout the school years and into adulthood, when they are twice as likely to experience mental health problems and unemployment.

This is compounded by the fact that NHS speech and language therapy services are struggling to meet demand, with over 1.9m children requiring support from only 11k therapists.

Ogma believes all families, regardless of income, should be able to access quality speech and language therapy. We are on a mission to harness the power of AI technology to give speech and language therapists super powers, so they can treat more children at a much lower cost, and even totally free for the families that need it most. In doing so, we aim to start narrowing that attainment gap so that all children start school with a level playing field.

Louise Weiss is the Founder of Ogma and joined the studio in September 2023.


Alex Gilbert

Alex Gilbert

Alex Gilbert

Head of New Ventures, Strategy Unit

Alex leads on the delivery of Nesta's Mission Studio.

View profile
Matt Seden

Matt Seden

Matt Seden

Chief Strategy Officer

Matt leads on the creation and delivery of Nesta's organisational strategy.

View profile
Obi Nnewuihe

Obi Nnewuihe

Obi Nnewuihe

Interim Head of New Ventures, Strategy Unit

Obi is the interim Head of New Ventures, responsible for creating and launching spin-out companies from Nesta's Mission Studio.

View profile