Financing the VocTech solutions of the future

Has the case for venture investing in digital tech for adult skills come of age?

Thursday 18 November
3pm – 4pm

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The adult skills development sector has seen massive transformation in recent years, further accelerated by the pandemic, in the growth of digital innovations, such as AI, remote delivery of learning replacing traditional instruction methods as well as the emergence of alternative pathways to jobs, such as bootcamps and employer funded learning. Investment in the sector has also grown as investors and entrepreneurs recognise the untapped potential vocational technology brings to the industry.

In this session, Ufi brings together a panel of founders, investors and industry experts to discuss the latest developments in the adult skills development sector, the investment opportunities in vocational technology and how businesses and investors can make the most of the recent shift towards remote and hybrid working models.

Led by Alex Cullen, Ufi Trustee and Chair of the Ufi Ventures Committee, this session will bring together voices from the investment and start-up community to explore the future of investment in vocational technology.

  • EdTech & VocTech investors;
  • Investors in other areas looking to learn more the VocTech landscape and the opportunities it brings; and
  • Tech start-ups and scale ups working in VocTech, skills development and the HR sector

The audience can expect to: 

  • Gain better understanding of the current VocTech landscape;
  • Learn about opportunities for early-stage investing in new solutions to tackle ‘future of work’ skills and employment challenges;
  • Learn about what others are doing in this space;
  • Learn what success looks like for VocTech venture investing;
  • Find out more about funding opportunities through Ufi Ventures; and
  • Connect to others and uncover new collaboration opportunities

Our panellists

Alex Cullen (Chair)

Head of Blood Donation Marketing, NHS Blood and Transplant, and Chair of the Ufi Ventures Committee

Alex is currently Director of BLA Brand & Marketing, specialising in helping brands talk about their sustainability work, and in turn encouraging customers to make more sustainable switches.

Alex built her career in food marketing at Ferrero, working across a number of confectionery brands before moving to M&S and leading various high profile campaigns. During her time at M&S, Alex was responsible for several charity partnerships, including Oxfam, Macmillan & Breast Cancer Now.

Nick Kind

Senior Director, Tyton Partners

Nick joined Tyton Partners in April 2019 as a Senior Director in the strategy consulting practice. Nick has worked in strategy, investment, corporate development and digital product management for over 20 years, with the vast majority of his time spent in the education sector. His work in learning has covered all age groups from “Pre-K to grey” and a wide range of geographies and contexts across the world.

Until mid-2016, Nick was Head of Business Insights for one of the largest media organizations in the world, the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, where he managed a thought leadership, market intelligence and internal strategy consultancy team for the board.

Joe Ludlow

Impact Investment Director, Ufi VocTech Trust

Joe has been investing in early-stage impact ventures since 2005. He leads Ufi Ventures, investing in early stage technology companies focused on the future of work and skills and sits on the board of Learnerbly, Learning Labs and Bodyswaps.

Prior to Ufi, Joe was a Managing Partner at Bethnal Green Ventures, where he led several seed stage investments (Lettus Grow, Commonplace, Second Nature) and structured BGV’s first SEIS/EIS investment vehicle. Joe established Nesta’s impact investing operation, raised its first fund, and invested in a portfolio of social ventures and funds including Futuregov, Third Space Learning, Abundance, Resonance, Bethnal Green Ventures.

Louise Marston

Director of Ventures, Resolution Foundation

Louise joined the Resolution Foundation in February 2020 as Director of Ventures, after working in technology and innovation policy and research for 10 years. Louise works on Resolution Ventures, the social investment activities of the foundation, with a focus on worker tech and financial health and resilience.

Prior to joining the Resolution Foundation, Louise was Managing Director at Doteveryone, a responsible technology think tank. She has also previously worked as a business and requirements analyst and IT project manager, and as an investment analyst for venture investment group Blenheim Chalcot. Louise grew up in Somerset, and holds an MA in Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Computer Science from UCL.

Mikhil Raja

Co-Founder & CEO, SonicJobs

Mikhil founded SonicJobs in 2016, a mobile app that helps jobseekers recognise their skills before applying for relevant roles in a variety of sectors, with more 700,000 job applicants using the service to date. Before establishing Sonic, Mikhil worked in Investment Banking.

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