Recent News

Open Bionics wins $1m ‘Robotics for Good’ prize

We are delighted to hear that our friends over at Open Bionics have won the million dollar UAE Robotics for Good prize.

The award offers a global platform for innovation in AI and robotics as part of the UAE’s commitment towards the National Innovation Strategy.

Open Bionics uses 3D scanning and printing to produce low-cost bionic hands for amputees. The company blends robotics, inclusive design, fashion, and wearable technology to create lightweight, affordable prosthetics.

The company states: “We can 3D scan an amputee’s residual limb in about five minutes and then print them a custom socket and bionic hand in under five days [as opposed to the usual 12 week lead-time]. By adopting new and cheaper technologies we can speed up the prosthetics industry, save amputees tens of thousands of pounds, and offer a functional device that can benefit millions of people”.

The devices will especially benefit children, who can choose from designs that are inspired by superheroes – a huge improvement on the options currently available to children (namely hooks and cosmetics), which can alienate and scare them.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum commented: “Humanity is on a journey. From the discovery of fire to the industrial revolution, we are on a constant voyage of discovery. Robotics and artificial intelligence are the next step.”

We look forward to seeing Open Bionics scale with the help of this significant and well-deserved prize.

 

Image: https://twitter.com/openbionics

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ClearlySo shortlisted for two impact awards

We are pleased to announce we have been shortlisted for two awards as part of the Green Innovation & Finance Awards 2017 and the DigitalAgenda Impact Awards.

So far, 2017 has got off to a very good start for ClearlySo, with two awards nominations already under our belt!

First up, ClearlySo has been shortlisted for ‘Impact Investment Firm of the Year’ as part of the 10th anniversary relaunch of the Green Innovation & Finance Awards 2017, led by Growthbusiness.co.uk and leading investment publication What Investment.

Previously known as The New Energy & Cleantech Awards, the newly-relaunched Green Innovation & Finance Awards is the leading platform for connecting and celebrating the most prominent entrepreneurs, innovators, financiers and advisers involved in the green economy. The ‘Impact Investment Firm of the Year’ award celebrates the investment fund that has done the most in actively placing capital in businesses within the green economy, while addressing socio-environmental issues in the past 12 months. Judges will look for examples of investment activity, demonstrable return on investment, and added value to the community it serves. The winner will be announced on February 23rd 2017.

ClearlySo ATLAS, the online solution for investors seeking support and guidance exploring the role of impact in their investments, has received its first award nomination less than 2 months after its launch. ClearlySo ATLAS is on the shortlist for the Investment category of the DigitalAgenda Impact Awards.

The DigitalAgenda Impact Awards, sponsored by the Nominet Trust, celebrates tech projects that improve lives and the world around us. Entries for each award were assessed on five categories: idea, product, team, scalability and impact. The winners will be announced on March 2nd 2017.

 

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Improve Your Mental Health Via Your Smartphone: Thrive Raises Over £500,000 in Seed Capital

Software developer Thrive has raised over half a million pounds to provide digital interventions that prevent, detect and treat mental health conditions, with the help of ClearlySo.

London, United Kingdom – Thrive, a software company that develops mobile apps to empower people to manage their mental health independently, announced today that it has exceeded their fundraising target of £500,000 with the help of ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank. Thrive plans to use the funding to develop more products and grow the commercial capacity of the business.

According to the World Health Organisation, one in four people will be affected by mental health problems at some point in their lives. The Health & Safety Executive reports that mental health problems cost companies £15 billion annually in the UK alone, an average of £500 per employee per year. However, access to traditional face-to-face therapy and ongoing support is often limited due to long waiting lists and high related costs, and stigma attached to mental health prevents many from seeking the help they need.

Led by leading psychiatrist Dr Andres Fonseca, and videogame legend Richard Flower, Thrive uses gamification and augmented reality to deliver psychologically-proven methods for managing mental health. By doing things digitally, Thrive is able to provide support at a fraction of the cost of traditional, private therapy, achieves a greater degree of treatment completion and reduces users’ worry about stigma or judgement.

Thrive currently has three apps available for use: ‘Arachnophobia Free’ helps users overcome the fear of spiders using exposure therapy; ‘Agoraphobia Free’ treats the fear of open spaces through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT); and ‘Feel Stress Free’ uses CBT to prevent, detect and treat depression and anxiety – the two most common mental health conditions globally. Thrive is looking to expand their number of apps to tackle a wide range of issues such as agitation in dementia and self-management in psychosis.

Individual users can download and use all three apps without the input of a health professional, and Feel Stress Free is available on license to businesses that are looking to improve their employees’ wellbeing.

Thrive Chairman and Clearly Social Angel investor Stephen Murdoch, said: “We’re very excited by recent studies done on Feel Stress Free at UCL and three other UK universities. We discovered that Feel Stress Free reduced the average recovery time by half, from 8 weeks to 4, for students suffering from clinical depression or anxiety. On average students used it 2 or 3 times a week for an average of 7 minutes per session, despite Thrive not prompting them in any way at all. This shows Thrive has the potential to be a game changer for overwhelmed services in any organisation.”

Robin F, a user of Thrive, added: “What really stands out for me about Thrive is its usability – they have a perfect blend of good design and psychological know-how. I’ve been impressed that an app, with no human interaction, can be so motivating, without making me feel pressured. I feel like I’m able to take control of my mental health.”

Further commenting, Hayley Collen, investment director at ClearlySo, said: “Mental health awareness has never been higher and its great that Thrive offers an innovative self-treatment option. The combination of clinical and entertainment expertise at Thrive clearly gives their products an edge. Their apps have the potential to positively impact millions of lives, and I’m excited to see what they do next.”

Ends

Notes to editors

About Thrive

Thrive creates evidence-based software-as-a-service digital interventions to prevent, detect and treat mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. The Thrive team includes expert game designers and expert health professionals that combine their talents to make engaging apps that use proven therapeutic techniques. Companies, schools, and sports organisations throughout the UK use our products to Thrive.

About ClearlySo

ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with businesses and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 100 clients raise more than £108 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

In addition, ClearlySo ATLAS helps investors assess the social and environmental impact of their venture capital and private equity investments and guides them towards choosing sustainable businesses that deliver long term benefit to people, planet and the bottom line.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

Further information

Dr Andres Fonseca
Thrive, CEO
E:
andres@thrive.uk.com 
T: 07796697009

John Lloyd
ClearlySo, Chief Marketing Officer
E: john.lloyd@clearlyso.com
T: 0207 490 9520

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The Banker | On the outside: how to tackle financial exclusion in the UK

ClearlySo’s CEO Rodney Schwartz shares his insights as part of a piece in The Banker that looks at what it means to be financially excluded in the UK.

Up to 2 million adults in the UK do not have a bank account, and 9 million do not have access to mainstream credit. Silvia Pavoni explores the causes and potential solutions of financial exclusion in this article for The Banker.

Commenting on financial experienced by small businesses, Rod says:

There is no doubt that banks and the market generally don’t serve many people who need, and indeed deserve, finance – especially companies that create a positive social and environmental impact, on top of creating jobs…”

Rod, who is also a visiting lecturer at Oxford University’s Said Business School, provided further comments on the rise in popularity of entrepreneurship across universities and business schools:

“Entrepreneurship as a general field is exploding on business school campuses. The hot jobs are with entrepreneurial companies – some people have their own start-up ideas or want to join early-stage businesses.

“I guess they even think they can make more money [than in other careers] but, in addition, they feel they would have a much more interesting and meaningful life than binding pitchbooks for three years at a big bank. The demand for [lectures] on social entrepreneurship within that is also rising dramatically.”

You can read the full article here.

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Rod Schwartz interviewed for ‘Your Mark on the World’ podcast

Interview with ClearlySo’s Founder and CEO, Rod Schwartz, is published on Forbes, with full recording available online.

Forbes contributor Devin Thorpe, a ‘champion of social good’, recently recorded a live interview with ClearlySo’s Rod Schwartz for his ‘Your Mark on the World’ show, which focuses on  world leaders in social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

In the interview, Rod and Devin discuss the history of ClearlySo, the recent launch of ClearlySo ATLAS, an online solution for assessing impact for mainstream private equity investors, and the current state of impact investing.

The full recording and accompanying article can be found here.

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ClearlySo in the Media