07 Sep 2022

Cooley extends partnership with Tech Nation to advance DE&I in UK tech sector

US firm to support early-stage startups with at least one ethnic minority founder through Tech Nation’s Libra programme

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US top 20 law firm Cooley is partnering with Tech Nation to support the second cohort of its Libra programme, an initiative designed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and racial justice in the UK tech sector. 

Launched in September 2021, Libra provides access to capital, commercial opportunities and professional networks to UK startups with at least one Black, South Asian, East Asian or Arab founder. 

The second cohort includes 35 companies, the majority of which are pre-seed or have yet to complete their first funding round. As part of the programme, Cooley provides the companies with practical guidance on securing institutional investments, the firm said. 

Cooley first partnered with Libra last year to support startups in the programme's first cohort, with the startups operating across the edtech, data analytics, business intelligence, health tech and smart cities sectors, among others. 

Chris Coulter, a London-based Cooley partner and a member of the firm’s diversity committee, said: “The quality of ideas and level of entrepreneurship we have seen are testament to the huge contribution to be made by the UK’s leading ethnic minority founders. We are proud to play a part in these startups’ journeys and to support the ongoing mission of Libra.”

The first iteration of the programme saw two Black-founded startups – edtech outfit Framework and HR tech platform Flair – raise seed funding within their first few months of participation. Six more companies were awarded the Black Fund Grant for startups by Google. 

Abi Mohamed, head of Libra at Tech Nation, said: “Cooley’s advice to our Libra members on securing institutional funding was invaluable for them and we are looking forward to the help the firm will provide the programme’s next cohort of startups.” 
 

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