Reflecting on Alpha 9

Gabriela HershamCEOHuckletree6/23/2022

Alpha Urban Futures came to a close yesterday with the Alpha Demo Day. Each of the six startups pitched to a zoom room of over forty of the UK and Ireland’s most renowned investors, including Felix Capital, Forward Partners, Planet A Ventures, Backed VC and Wakeup Capital. And, we’ve already begun making connections.


We chose Urban Futures as the theme for this cohort. Why? We know that our cities are defining the future of our planet, and we need to innovate fast to find solutions to some enormous challenges that we're facing. So when deciding on this theme, we found ourselves asking questions like how do we rethink our cities to create real sustainable impact but on a global scale? How do we plan the urban landscape to increase equity for marginalised communities? How do we reduce carbon emissions within our cities, even at the rate they're scaling?

So, we knew we wanted to find and support the startups using all their creativity to build new solutions, services and products that are solving these very real problems.

We found our cohort after a lengthy application process, and it truly is remarkable what these startups are setting out to do. From GreenTech and micro-mobility solutions to solving our city’s accessibility challenges, having spent the last twelve weeks working closely with these founding teams, I can’t help but have a little more faith in our urban future.

Also, reflecting on the impact of The Alpha Accelerator to date. This cohort has marked the ninth edition of the accelerator for founders from underrepresented backgrounds. Alpha started as a passion project in 2017 on the ground floor of our Shoreditch Hub, and at the heart of the mission was supporting first-time entrepreneurs in the critical early stages of that journey. Any founders reading this will know how hard it is to start a business for the first time.

At the time, it felt like we were trying to piece together a highly complex jigsaw puzzle, and I didn’t know what would come next. But we believed, and still do believe, that with the right network, support, and guidance, these entrepreneurs could succeed. They could launch with greater speed, intensity, and ambition.

Five years later, I’m proud to say that Alpha has become a cornerstone of what we do at Huckletree. It’s no longer that passion project on the ground floor of our Shoreditch Hub. It’s a programme that has seen 55 startups from various industries graduate from the programme and raise over £35M in collective seed funding. There have also been notable exits, and over 250 jobs have been created.

What we're most proud of are the eighty-three underrepresented founders we've supported throughout the integral first few months of their journey. We're proud of what they've achieved and how they're dedicated to making an impact and giving back to the community. And, I'm not shy to say that I'm really proud of the minor role that Huckletree has played in that journey.


To find out more about the Alpha programme, click here.

If you're an investor interested in finding out more about this year's Urban Futures cohort, email

Gabriela Hersham

Gaby has built our vision and culture since we first opened doors in 2014, leading our corporate strategy, product and innovation. An advocate for diversity in entrepreneurship, Gaby is an advisor and coach for early-stage founders and a speaker and panelist on the Future of Work and diverse leadership (check out her TEdX talk). Outside of work, Gaby is usually dancing around her kitchen with her two little ones, Jack and Andrea and her hubby Antoine. Superpower: Executive calm under pressure.


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