NEWS16 December 2021

BIT joins Nesta as subsidiary

Behavioural science Charities M&A News UK

UK – Former Cabinet Office behavioural science unit the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of innovation foundation Nesta for £15.4m.

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In a blog post by Nesta chief executive Ravi Gurumurthy, it was confirmed that BIT and Nesta would remain distinct organisation, but will undertake a number of projects in partnership.

Gurumurthy said the two organisations would share capabilities and expertise, with BIT specialising in behavioural science and conducting experiments while Nesta bringing data science, design, experimentation, collective intelligence and arts and culture knowledge and skills.

BIT was formed in 2010 and spun out of the Cabinet Office in 2014, with Nesta one of the company’s founding shareholders.

Since its formation, BIT has grown from seven staff to 250, and has conducted more than 700 randomised control trials during its lifespan.

Other partner work between BIT and Nesta will include working together on bringing in different types of funding, with BIT gaining consultancy revenue and Nesta accessing academic funding and philanthropic grants.

The partnership will also bring together both organisations’ networks and relationships with governments, local authorities, charities and non-profits, both in the UK and internationally.

Gurumurthy said that by sharing subject matter expertise and insights, “we hope we can challenge the parochialism of public policy debates in many countries”

He added: “Our belief is that this partnership will lead to innovations and social change that improves the lives of millions of people, in the UK and globally.

“The scale of the challenges facing many countries requires a commitment to innovate and experiment, and see ideas through to large-scale deployment. Our vision is to do exactly that.”