Building the next generation of mission-led startups

What we're doing

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.

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.

Building new ventures from scratch also provides an opportunity to further Nesta's EDI goals. Entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds can experience obstacles to participating fully in the venture industry, yet the evidence is clear that diverse founding teams create more innovation and better financial outcomes. A cornerstone of Mission Studio is its industry-leading diversity by design strategy – a plan to attract, nurture and invest in diverse founding teams. By providing operating support, mentorship and a starting salary to aspiring entrepreneurs, among other steps, we can begin to lower the barriers to participation.

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.

We’re looking to attract, nurture and invest in diverse founders from all backgrounds, particularly those who may have previously lacked the opportunity to found their own business. We look at applications on a rolling basis, and are always happy to hear your ideas.

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]

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 (typically 9-12 months) to go from idea to scale
  • £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

Mission Studio ventures

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

Renew 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. Renew will then let the properties out to tenants, including helping them manage their energy use to reduce bills and emissions. The Renew 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. Renew 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. Rosa Stewart joined the studio in May 2022 as the Founder and CEO of Renew.

Retro 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. Retro 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 will be joining as Retro’s founder in August 2022.