We’re Looking for 40 People to Transform the Lives of 650m People


Know anyone who wants to start a new tech business that makes a big social impact, but who also needs help with finding a great co-founder, time and space to work out the ideas and need expert help to build great new products?

If you do, please let them know they have 2 weeks left to apply to the Zinc Transformer Programme, and please share this post, which tells about the 450 people who have applied already and who could become their future co-founders.

Zinc’s first Transformer Programme will bring together 40 individuals in October 2017 for a 6 month full-time programme in London. They will build new tech businesses from scratch. Everyone will work towards a single mission to solve a major social issue in the developed world. The first mission is to improve the mental and emotional health of 650m girls and women, a market of $100 billion to disrupt.

We launched the programme on April 21st 2017 with a tweet.

It’s been exciting to see hundreds of people apply and humbling to see the calibre of the applicants. It has been fascinating to see their diversity of skills and experience.

Firstly, there are the numbers. The striking thing about the numbers is the 50:50 balance on gender, age, experience, nationality and education.

There is an equal number of men and women. This is great news for those worried about the lack of women starting new tech businesses, or those who thought men wouldn’t be inspired by a mission to address women’s needs.

The average age of applicants is 35, with a 50:50 split between Millennials and the over 35s. Across the age range, it is striking how many people have experience of starting a business. Although we are recruiting people pre-team and pre-idea to come and build a new business with us, half of the applicants have either previously founded a start-up or worked in an early stage start-up.

The 50:50 theme is repeated in terms of the nationality of the applicants. Looking at who is being shortlisted, half are British, but the other half come from a wide range of countries, including those with high-tech hubs like the US and Israel. It’s inspiring to see the willingness of so many people to travel the world to make it better. And the intellectual calibre is extremely high, with half of the CVs being a roll-call of the world’s most prestigious universities, balanced by people with great technical training and success at the university-of-life.

Secondly, there are the stories. We have a group of young doctors who have been to business school and already experimented with start-ups. We have leading-edge data scientists working in fintech and advertising who now want to have a greater social impact. We have people who are frustrated by current systems and solutions and who want to use tech to scale innovation and who see a commercial approach as the best way to do good.

We have people who are driven by the needs of particular demographics — teenage girls, students, mothers, the very old, women workers, etc. Others are driven by the untapped potential technology to improve mental and emotional health — AI, machine learning, face and voice recognition, sensors, etc. Some are determined to build better solutions for people suffering from serious mental illness, others want to tackle the root causes of moderate mental health issues for millions of people, be they relationships, work, financial wellbeing, physical health, online life, etc.

Thirdly, there is the chemistry. We are starting to bring together the applicants and creative sparks start flying quickly. Putting together people who’ve bootstrapped startups, with those who have had a senior career in a big corporate, others who have just finished their PhD in machine learning, therapists, star sales people, creative designers, experienced venture capitalists, social scientists, and some who are fresh from university but have already setup charities or businesses — that’s a real potent mix. But much more so when you add the mix of personalities: imagine the guy who rowed across the Atlantic unsupported debating with the woman who has been leading an IT implementation programme in a big pharma company, the young hustling sales woman co-creating with the frontline charity worker, the creative designer arguing it out with the head of analytics for a big insurance company.

Improving the mental and emotional health of 650m girls and women in the developed world is a huge challenge, but full of great entrepreneurial opportunities. The mission deserves the very best people. So, if you know people who look like these 450 applicants, please ask them to check-out the Zinc Transformer Programme. And remind them that the closing date is June 30th 2017.


Thank you,

Saul, Paul and Ella


Leave a Reply