Saul Klein's latest venture, Zinc, is trying to solve society's most pressing problems by hot-housing tech startups

 
Lynsey Barber
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Zinc brings together entrepreneurs to build companies tackling issues (Source: Getty)

One of London's most high-profile tech investors, Saul Klein, has launched a new venture for hot-housing technology designed to solve some of society's most pressing problems - starting with women's mental and emotional health.

The Lovefilm and Seedcamp founder has teamed up with Paul Kirby, the former head of the Number 10 policy unit and global public sector head at KPMG, along with entrepreneur Ella Goldner to form Zinc.

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The first issue of mental health will be tackled by 55 entrepreneurs, from doctors to data scientists from around the world, on a six month programme with the goal of forming up to 10 companies in which Zinc will take an eight per cent stake.

Zinc follows a similar model to company building incubator Founders Factory and also follows in similar foot steps of public.io, the govtech accelerator which is tackling public sector issues such as health and government. It was set up by Daniel Korski, a former adviser to ex-Prime Minister David Cameron, and is also backed by Klein.

Klein's venture capital firm LocalGlobe has backed Zinc with £500,000, but new funding is also being sought from angels, venture funds and other investors and corporates.

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“When I co-founded Seedcamp with Reshma Sohoni 10 years ago it was a leap into the unknown, but it along with YCombinator has quickly become a proven model for business creation. With Zinc we want to make a similar leap forward and start a movement to tackle global challenges in the developed world," said Klein.

“We live in unusual times and one of the big themes that is emerging is social activism. People want meaningful solutions to the most pressing issues they face in their everyday lives and they are increasingly realising that the solutions can not be effectively provided by the state or academics acting in isolation. We live in a world where over 3bn people are connected and technology is capable of major leaps forward, we have a chance to combine commercial organisation and public sector thinking to impact some big problems.”

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