UK government: Future Fund program has helped 158 companies

The British government last week published names of the 158 companies that converted £ 1.1bn Future Fund loans into equity. The program, launched in April 2020 by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, was designed to support startups and innovative businesses struggling to get money during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is the first time that the British Business Bank, a government-owned business development bank, has listed companies that have received special taxpayer-guaranteed loans. Financial support comes in the form of convertible loans, giving the UK government a share of the capital of the business when the loan is ultimately converted.

To be eligible, companies had to be an unlisted UK registered company and have raised at least £ 250,000 in equity from third party private investors in the past five years.

“The Future Fund was created to ensure that investments keep flowing to our most innovative businesses, and it’s fantastic that taxpayers now have equity in these top performing startups,” Sunak said in an accompanying statement. the publication of data from the British Business Bank. “Investing in these companies has the potential to accelerate innovations that will transform UK industry, develop new medicines and strengthen our position as a scientific superpower. “

When the program was launched, it was criticized by skeptics who questioned whether the government should invest in loss-making companies during a pandemic; The Future Fund has also been criticized for focusing heavily on the VC part of the investment landscape.

Others argued that it did not meet the needs of diverse and regional founders – 90 of the 158 companies are in London – and was incompatible with the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). . Those two there UK government initiatives encourage innovation by giving private investors significant tax relief when they invest in early stage and “high risk” companies.

Here are some of the tech companies that have benefited from the program:

To hire

To hire is an end-to-end workforce management platform that connects recruiting agencies, end hires and contractors. Its cloud-based solution creates visibility throughout the hiring process, ensuring worker compliance and helping businesses mitigate tax liability risks.

Its back office solution offers automated registration, compliance, attendance and payment to reduce the amount of paperwork and spreadsheets to fill out. This allows users to focus on achieving their goals instead.

Kano Computing

Kano Computing provides a kit system and coding platform that allows users to develop apps, games and music. Primarily aimed at children, the says he does “technology for creation, not just consumption”.

Founded by Alex Klein, the company raised a $ 28 million Series B round in 2017, but reportedly lost about half that amount in 2019. Despite some tough years, the company recently teamed up with musician Kayne West to create a Stem Player that allows users to not only listen to West’s new album, but also personalize each song. Listeners can control the mixing of vocals, drums, bass and add effects to songs.

Perceptual robotics

Founded in Bristol in 2016, Perceptual robotics uses smart automation to make inspections of wind turbines and other infrastructure more efficient. Its custom-built unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) provides inspection engineers with a cost-effective tool that helps them increase the number and quality of inspections, while minimizing health and safety risks.

Drones can identify lightning strikes, cracks, erosion and delamination, and highlight anything out of the ordinary. Consistent data capture enables long-term analyzes from data mining of huge amounts of information to inform operational and maintenance decision making.


Launched in 2016, Pycom is an Internet of Things (IoT) company that launched an innovative IoT platform that offers a suite of hardware and software products to connect developers, businesses and consumers. By creating an ecosystem between connectable objects, the company claims it can reduce barriers and time-to-market.

To date, Pycom has attracted over 29,000 customers in 87 countries and attracted over 500,000 developers to its global developer community.

Robin IA

Robin IA is a London-based legal technology company that offers an automated contract review service. Clients send their inbound contracts, and Robin AI will use a combination of technology and legal specialists to review and modify these documents to client specifications.

Using a combination of machine learning and human intelligence, Robin AI said I could save time and money by automatically reviewing detailed legal contracts such as nondisclosure agreements.

The company’s current client base includes law firms Clifford Chance and Foot Anstey, PE funds like Hayfin, and companies like Pizza Hut and Babylon Health.


In a world where mental health is increasingly destigmatized, digital mental health support services are booming in popularity. Spread describes itself as an ‘all-in-one mental health support for employees’, giving users the flexibility to determine if they need – and if so, book – therapy sessions, all via an app.

Spill also helps train managers to be emotionally smarter, offering therapist-led group sessions on how to deal with delicate emotional situations, support employees with their sanity, and balance need. to manage performance with sentiment management.

The app is already in use by companies like Bulb, Typeform, Depop and Citymapper and in January raised a £ 2million fundraising round.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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