Helping you...

Scale

Our programmes help to identify and grow innovative companies working to solve public sector problems, accelerating the pace of digital transformation in areas such as health and social care, transport, public safety, and cyber security.

GovStart

GovStart is a free six month programme to help technology startups transform the public sector. We run two GovStart programmes - one in the UK and one in Germany - aimed at startups at different stages and in various sectors, working with products that have powerful public sector applications. 

After four successful years of GovStart, PUBLIC is excited to announce the launch of the new GovStart: a free to use community & engagement platform designed to provide startups with the vital knowledge and network needed to successfully scale across the public sector. 

GovStart brings together promising new technology companies to create an interactive community, creating opportunities to network and problem solve with like-minded startups. The platform will provide six months of dedicated learning content, events and tools - as well as a network of 50 of the best GovTech companies. Through the programme, participating startups will gain a deep understanding of the public sector - from unblocking public procurement barriers to creating a compelling narrative and strategy for selling to the public sector. 

£340m

investment
raised

48

companies supported

£40m

public sector contracts won

GovStart Cohort

Check it out!

Our Mission

GovStart

PUBLIC advises governments, public administrations and companies related to the public sector who want to digitally modernise their services and systems. We connect and support founders, political decision-makers and investors to jointly identify and shape the best possible future for the public sector. Startups have always been central to PUBLIC’s work and mission, and we are now seeking to take the knowledge we have built from over four GovStart programmes to support at greater scale.

The new GovStart will create a community of innovators, bringing together leading startups with one common goal: transforming public services. The platform will support startups through a comprehensive learning programme, providing access to:

GovTech Network
A network with public sector officials, founders, investors and other key stakeholders through GovStart events
Learning Content
Gain a thorough understanding of the public sector market through webinars, articles and write-ups.
Growth Advice
Access tailored advice through a 1-1 session with a member of PUBLIC’s senior team
Peer-to-Peer Support
Connect with other GovStart companies to collaborate and problem solve

Check it out!

Accelerate Digital Health Solutions with AWS

Grounded in the context, challenges and needs of the public sector, our courses provide participants - from junior public servants to senior officials and politicians - a high impact education in how to operate confidently with new technologies to grasp the opportunities of the digital age and deliver better outcomes for citizens, communities, and businesses.

Our Focus

GovStart

GovStart is seeking startups with innovative technology solutions focused on transforming public services. We have a particular interest in the following areas:

Privacy, Security & Safety

Innovation solutions for: defence; RegTech; mis/disinformation detection; metaverse for delivery of public services; or application of PETs through differential privacy and/or synthetic data

Climate

Innovation solutions for: promoting investment in climate adaptation; distilling raw data into actionable information; energy transition; or greening supply chains and promoting a circular economy

Health

Innovative solutions for: rehabilitation, behaviour change and patient empowerment; clinical decision support, artificial intelligence and automation; or digital therapeutics

Justice & Blue Light Services

Innovative solutions for: supporting offender rehabilitation; community policing; or command and control systems

Business Systems

Innovative solutions for: public procurement; payments & finance; grant management; or workflows & collaboration

Social Care

Innovative solutions for: prevention & enablement; coordinating care; or combating loneliness

The Programme

GovStart

GovStart is a free six month community and engagement programme, delivered by PUBLIC. After four years running GovStart, we have acquired an in-depth understanding of the challenges startups are facing. Alongside our extensive network and knowledge of the public sector market - how it operates, the solutions it’s looking for and who to connect with - this creates a powerful opportunity for PUBLIC to be uniquely positioned to support the ever-growing GovTech ecosystem and support the most promising startups as they scale.

We will be launching two GovStart programmes: one run in the UK and one in Germany. Both programmes will deliver value for participating startups across six key areas:

The Community Platform

Our community platform is the heart of GovStart. Accessible via an app or browser, the community platform will enable companies to find, connect and chat with other members, join specific groups and access all webinars and learning content in one central location.

Sector-Focused Roundtables

Centred around a particular sector - from health to climate, security to justice - these events will provide companies with an opportunity to get in a room with relevant public sector decision-makers and industry experts.

GovStart Webinars

Monthly webinars will provide members with a thorough understanding of how to work with, and sell to, the public sector. Webinars will be designed and led by PUBLIC and will provide a space for open Q&A.

Additional Learning Content

In addition to the main webinars, GovStart members will have access to further learning content through the community platform - from ‘How To’ guides designed by PUBLIC, to external articles and write-ups from events. Topics will include: Understanding and unblocking barriers in public procurement; finding opportunities in the sector; and crafting an effective narrative and sales strategy.

Networking Events

Throughout GovStart, we will be hosting a series of hybrid and in-person networking events, including a Launch Event in June bringing together selected startups with our partners, alumni and the PUBLIC team to kick off the programme.

GovStart Demo Day

An in-person event taking place across two days, the Demo Day will offer startups a platform to pitch their solutions to an audience of public sector representatives, investors and other key stakeholders.

Key dates

6th April
Applications open
1st May
Applications close
2-20th May
Selection process
6th June
Programme begins

6th April

Applications open

8th May

Applications close

2nd - 20th May

Selection process

6th June

Programme begins

There's more!

Alumni Programme
After the programme, participating startups will join our GovStart Alumni Community, through which we will offer dedicated events to meet and network with alumni from all previous GovStart cohorts. Alumni will also remain a member of the GovStart Platform, providing a space to interact, share insights and provide advice to the next generation of GovStart companies.
Get Involved!
If you would like to get involved in GovStart as a speaker or corporate partner, please contact us.
Contact us

FAQ

What is GovStart?

GovStart is a community and engagement programme for startups who want to do business with the public sector. The aim is to help startups scale their work with all areas of the public sector - central government departments, agencies, the NHS, and devolved: city and local government - by equipping them with the knowledge and network needed to succeed.

Is the programme right for my company?

Whether you are new to the public sector and want to develop your knowledge ahead of initial engagements, or want to build networks to scale existing work, then GovStart is for you.

Our programme is aimed at Seed-Series C companies. We are particularly keen to work with a diverse group of startups and actively encourage applications from founders from underrepresented communities.

Why are you changing the model for GovStart? What is different about the new programme?

After four successful GovStart cohorts we have decided to update our model. Previously GovStart has taken the form of a six-month growth programme. We provided 6-10 startups with intensive tailored support and through that work we have learnt a lot about working with startups across a broad range of sectors, technologies and verticals. 

Startups have always been central to our work at PUBLIC, and as we grow, we want GovStart to grow with us. This means supporting startups at a far greater scale. By pivoting GovStart to a community & engagement platform, this enables us to support up to 50 promising new GovTech companies - taking the knowledge and experience we have gained through previous programmes, alongside our continued work with the public sector, to provide startups with the tools they need to succeed. 

We firmly believe that for GovTech to be successful the public sector needs a diversified range of suppliers who can offer different solutions to pressing problems. We hope that supporting the startup ecosystem at scale will bring new companies to public markets, and support the growth of those who are already doing good work.

Having worked with startups for over five years, and having come from startup roots ourselves, we also appreciate the time constraints founders face when running a business. Our latest iteration provides a lighter touch model, with a greater focus on events and networking. It is now also free to participate

What is the difference between GovStart UK and GovStart Germany?

PUBLIC delivers GovStart in two locations: in Germany, through our team based in Berlin, and in the United Kingdom, through our team based in London. Given the specificities of the public sector in different national contexts, startups participating in GovStart in the UK will have access to the English-language platform offering insights and networks into the UK public sector, whereas startups participating in the German edition of GovStart will have access to the German-language platform which focuses on the German public sector. When applying for GovStart, you need to choose your chosen programme.

I am not based in London or Berlin - can I still participate?

Whether you are new to the public sector and want to develop your knowledge ahead of initial engagements, or want to build networks to scale existing work, then GovStart is for you.Absolutely. Although there will be some in person events taking place in those cities, most will be online. Additionally, all of the learning content and the community platform will be delivered remotely. We actively encourage startups based across the UK and Germany, as well as Europe more generally to apply - you will still get value.

I have already done an accelerator. Why do I need to do another one?

GovStart isn’t an accelerator. It is a community, learning and engagement programme designed to provide startups with the networks, knowledge and tools needed to succeed in the public sector. We feel the content we’ve customised specifically for working with the public sector will be relevant to companies who consider themselves beyond the accelerator stage. It is based on the in-depth knowledge we have built up from over five years of working at the heart of the GovTech ecosystem.

How much does it cost?

Whether you are new to the public sector and want to develop your knowledge ahead of initial engagements, or want to build networks to scale existing work, then GovStart is for you.Participation in GovStart is free for startups

At PUBLIC we are committed to helping exceptional GovTech companies work better with government, and we don’t believe that startups need any further blockers in doing so.

We prioritise the quality of the startups we work with and believe that eliminating financial barriers to participation is the way to create an inclusive and supportive programme.

What are the programme dates?
  • Applications for the programme open on 6th April - and close on 8th May
  • Selection for the programme will take place between 9th-20th May
  • The programme begins on 6th June and runs for six months, until December. 
How is the programme structured?

GovStart has been specially designed to combat the key problems startups working with the public sector are facing.

It’s a 6-month programme, starting in June and running until December. Content will be delivered across a range of different events including: (1) learning webinars; (2) networking events; and (3) government-focused roundtables. 

Learning webinars are all conducted virtually. Some of the networking events and roundtables will take place in a hybrid format, some in-person at our London office (PUBLIC Hall, Westminster) or Berlin office (AI Campus) - depending on which programme you are taking part in.

How does the selection process work?

The selection process will take place over a 2-3 week period. All interested companies will need to complete an online application, followed by an interview with the PUBLIC team.

How will applications be judged?

Whether you are new to the public sector and want to develop your knowledge ahead of initial engagements, or want to build networks to scale existing work, then GovStart is for you.Applications will be judged by PUBLIC. The key things we really look for are: 

General:

  • An innovative and exciting solution to a problem in GovTech. A clear understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, and why your solution is the one to solve it.
  • A commitment to engage. GovStart creates a community for sharing knowledge, solutions and ideas. So, we want to work with companies who are eager to get involved. 

Tech:

  • Product status: a product in place is important, at minimum we expect you to have an MVP.

Team:

  • Founders with a passion for solving public sector problems
  • Full time founder(s). We need to have someone on the team working on this full time
  • Someone on the ground in the UK or Germany - or the ambition to set up a presence in these countries
  • Development capability in house

What is the time commitment?

The programme is designed to be light-touch - we understand how busy life can be for startups! 

A normal month will likely include two webinars, a sector-focused roundtable and a networking event. To really get the most out of GovStart, we strongly recommend attending all events. This will range from 6-9 hours per month, depending on the specific events taking place.

How many participants will be selected?

GovStart UK will be selecting between 40-50 companies. GovStart Germany will select approximately 15 companies.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?

For questions about GovStart UK, please contact our GovStart team at emily@public.io 

For questions about GovStart Germany, please contact yasser@public.io.

Join the GovTech Community

Sign up to our weekly newsletter to get the latest news and updates