StateUp 21 founders, investors and policy experts discuss the state of global public-purpose tech

StateUp 21 founders, investors and policy experts discuss the state of global public-purpose tech

The StateUp 21 Launch Event 2022 brought together investors, policy experts, and StateUp 21 startup founders for inspiring and interactive conversations marking the launch of StateUp 21, the leading international resource for public-purpose tech.

Hosted in partnership with King’s Entrepreneurship Lab and Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange (CUSPE), part one of the launch event featured an “Ask-Me-Anything” discussion with Yau Ben-Or (CEO and Co-founder of Rural Senses) and Annette Jezierska (CEO and Co-founder of The Future Fox), moderated by Dr. Kamiar Mohaddess (Co-director of King’s Entrepreneurship Lab). 

The founders shared key lessons from their experiences in raising funds, navigating public sector clients, developing a board of advisors, and building a team motivated by public purpose. 

Key takeaways for those building a career in public-purpose tech include:

  1. Finding supportive communities and networks, such as university ecosystems, is critical for developing public-purpose tech startups.
  2. Keep it simple in your communications, keeping in mind less technical audiences when describing your public-purpose tech offering.
  3. Choosing your metrics and re-prioritising on a quarterly basis, instead of more frequently, can help to maintain focus.
  4. Decentralisation and AI-enabled misinformation will present challenges and opportunities for public-purpose tech startups in the near future.
  5. Founders are looking for team members with entrepreneurial spirit and drive as well as balance between strategic thinkers and doers. 

Building a career in public-purpose tech? For the most exciting career opportunities in this space, see what’s new on StateUp’s Nebula Hire.

Part two of the launch focused on key international trends, challenges, and opportunities in public-purpose tech. It featured a unique range of perspectivesincluding Angela Homsi (Co-founder of Ignite Power), Greg Bybee (CEO and Co-founder of Avela), Dr. Cristina Peñasco (Director of MPhil for Public Policy, University of Cambridge), Leo Ringer (Partner at Form Ventures), and Dr. Tanya Filer (CEO and Founder of StateUp). 

Key takeaways include:

  1. Public-purpose tech startups can have difficulty accessing current public procurement platforms designed for incumbents – there is a huge opportunity for new platform development.
  2. Investors want governments to be less risk-averse and more thoughtful in challenging how procurement is done – and include wider public-purpose outcomes in the metrics for choosing suppliers.
  3. Smaller nations such as Rwanda, Singapore, and Estonia can act as “proof of concept” countries, providing innovation-friendly policies and supporting go-to-market strategies. While “scaling up” is never simple, and contexts can vary extremely, public servants in other countries can learn from their experience.
  4. Before moving onto Web3 and other advanced technologies, there is a need for governments to embrace more fundamental technologies, like cloud, and disciplines like UX and “customer experience” for citizens.
  5. Universities are uniquely positioned to bring together and create communities from different disciplines, which will be crucial to public-purpose tech development going forward.

Interested in joining StateUp’s international public-purpose tech community addressing major public needs? Sign up for a free Nebula Community membership.

Listen to the conversation from Part Two of the launch event here, a podcast collaboration between StateUp and the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

Watch the full launch event here.