Huckletree believes that power is not just in the hands of the people, it’s in the hands of the curious – those who ask questions, challenge old school thinking, break silos, and the ones who never give up on the hope of a better future.
Our latest workspace alongside venture firm; PUBLIC, set in the historic Horse Guards Avenue, is set to pioneer the future of leading GovTech startups. Think AI technologists working alongside smart city designers, civil servants having a cuppa next to DefenceTech experts…. We’re building a new kind of Town Hall, for the future.
What is PUBLIC trying to solve?
PUBLIC’s mission is to help tech startups transform public services.
Startups have the capacity to solve some of society’s biggest challenges – whether it be to provide everyone with access to first-rate healthcare or to support citizens in navigating through the debate of personal data and privacy.
To truly transform society and solve these challenges, startups must work with government. Traditionally, however, this has not always been the easiest task for small, agile tech companies – governments don’t always know how best to engage with startups. We aim to act as a bridge between startups and government – helping startups understand and work with government, backing them financially, and supporting them technically.
What inspired you to leave number 10 and jump into startups?
From inside Number 10 I could see that technology was helping every other sector in the economy but government remained in hock to large, often not particularly innovative incumbents and so public services were not improving at the right pace.
New companies needed money, networks and support to be able to bring their solutions to the public sector. That’s where the idea for PUBLIC came from. When I met Alex [de Carvalho] my co-founder, he brought the commercial, investment and entrepreneurial side of things to my strategic, and governmental perspective, thus PUBLIC was born.
From early-stage companies in healthtech to Series C companies in recruitment going after major contracts… how do you help them to scale?
For early stage companies, we help build products and raise capital and support them to develop a strategy to enter the public sector market. For later stage companies, the support can vary from support scaling, to pursuing major government contracts – as was the case with Adzuna who won a major government contract with the DWP.
In an ideal ‘smart city’ world, how will the worlds of Government and Tech collide?
An ideal smart city is a citizen-first city. One that is using technology to make our lives as citizens intuitive, fast and simple – whether it be in transport, utilities or interacting with councils.