Future Fund now has stakes in 400 UK start-ups

The government takes equity in 400 companies after providing £1.14bn in Covid loans

The British Business Bank has revealed a further 65 start-ups the Future Fund has taken an equity stake in.

The fund, aimed at companies which couldn’t get Covid support through other means because they were pre-profit and typically rely on equity funding, allowed firms to receive funding during Covid providing the government takes equity the next time they raise equity capital.

In total, the government holds a stake in 400 companies under the scheme, meaning a third of companies signed up have now converted to equity.

Businesses include Hybrid Air Vehicles, a developer of a low-emissions, 100-seat airship powered by helium and electricity which can stay airborne for five days with a range of 4,000 miles, and Facegym, a studio providing facial fitness exercises.

The fund is also supporting Impact Recycling, which has developed a plastic recycling technology which separates post-consumer mixed rigid plastic waste, and LettUs Grow, an indoor farming start-up which enables plants to grow twice as fast as hydroponics using less water, fertiliser and no pesticides.

The government said it has 703 active loans under the scheme that are yet to convert, while 33 Future Fund-backed companies have been bought out. But the latest data show that 54 portfolio companies have gone into administration.

The fund was launched by former chancellor Rishi Sunak in May 2020 and has provided £1.14bn in capital to 1,190 businesses until applications were closed at the end of January 2021.

See also: Future Fund – government tech start-up bailout scheme how it works

Ken Cooper, managing director of the British Business Bank’s venture solutions arm, said: “The Future Fund was created to ensure a flow of capital, at the height of the pandemic, to companies that would otherwise have been unable to access government support schemes, while ensuring long-term value for the UK taxpayer.

“We are pleased to see so many of those companies now going on to raise further private sector capital, which will allow the Future Fund to benefit from their continued growth.”

More on the Future Fund

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Dom Walbanke

Fred Mann

Dom is a feature writer for Growth Business and Small Business, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine and various lifestyle...

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