Decoding#govtech
24 July 2020
Unsplash © Jordhan Madec

GovTech: a programme for startups to digitise public services

GovTech venture firm PUBLIC has announced its latest GovStart programme - the only UK accelerator dedicated to helping startups use their products to drive transformation and improve the delivery of public services.

The value of GovTech for use in public sector applications is expected to be worth £25B to the UK economy by 2025. With COVID-19 continuing to set the agenda for public services across Europe, GovStart 2020 will focus on helping to grow startups developing solutions to the diverse challenges it presents for the public sector. Startups with solutions focused on solving challenges in the following areas encouraged to apply to the programme:

  • Health Tech: solutions for remote monitoring and self-management of COVID and related conditions;
  • Mental health: Digital interventions to support young people and adults’ mental health;
  • Future of work: Digital training and coaching applications for people that have lost their jobs because of COVID, to get them ready for the jobs of the future;
  • Transport & Mobility: data solutions to help transport authorities plan for a safe transport network;
  • Prisons and Rehabilitation: Smart solutions for safer and better prisons, from internal operations to offender rehabilitation.

Based on extensive research, engagement and feedback from its partners in public and private sectors, PUBLIC believes that digital solutions to these challenges will be vital in the coming year. As in previous years, GovStart is open to applications from providers of solutions differing from the criteria above.

Apply for GovStart by August 16th

Now in its fourth year, GovStart has supported 36 of the sector’s most innovative companies to navigate the complexities of selling to the public sector.

In its first three years, GovStart has supported 36 companies to grow in this space, helping entrepreneurs to negotiate 36 pilots, secure over £11M worth of public-sector contracts, and assisting them to fundraise over £53M from investors.

GovStart alumni have deployed products in diverse public-sector environments across health and social care (Vinehealth, CeraCare, Cinapsis, Flynotes, Birdie), citizen engagement and local government (Novoville), Employment & Recruitment (Adzuna) as well as cybersecurity and online safety (Cyan Forensics, Red Sift)

With this growth, the opportunities for innovative new companies to play a role in public service transformation have grown significantly. During the COVID-19 crisis, the SME share of the Government’s supply chain has increased to 31%.

“This crisis has shown significant new challenges that will require the public sector to further embrace digital in order to provide solutions that are both efficient and which meet the requirements of the modern citizen. For years, the UK’s startups have been the lifeblood of our economy – now, for the first time, they are the key drivers of public sector transformation. Since GovStart launched in 2017, PUBLIC has had the privilege of helping fantastic young companies to refine their offering, expand their networks in the public sector, and improve public services. However, we know there is still a huge well of tech talent that has struggled to engage with the public sector – we look forward to working with this talent to ensure that public services continue to serve society as effectively as they must.” – Daniel Korski, CEO of PUBLIC

GovStart is a sixth-month growth programme to help tech startups transform the public sector. We take startups at different stages and in various sectors, working with products that have powerful public sector applications, and provide them with the tailored support, strategy and networks they need to succeed.