£100 Million Fund To Support UK startups Goes National

A successful partnership that brings together Startups and successful entrepreneurs along with government and private sector investment has been extended across the UK, Business Minister Michael Fallon has announced.

The Angel CoFund invests amounts of £100,000 to £1 million into small and medium sized businesses with high growth potential, working in partnership with syndicates of experienced business angels to help companies fulfil their promise.  The Angel CoFund was launched in 2011, with a budget of £50 million from the government’s Regional Growth Fund. An additional £50 million announced in the 2013 budget was provided through the government’s business bank. 

The fund is not open to direct approaches from individual businesses and those seeking investment should first secure the interest of a business angel syndicate or network. The fund has been designed and established by a consortium of private and public bodies with expertise in business angel investment. It is a private sector body with clear objectives to boost the quality and quantity of business angel investing in the UK, and to support long-term, high quality jobs in growing companies.

As well as providing much-needed funding for ambitious small firms, the fund is using government backing to encourage the expansion of the business angel culture.

Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon said:

“The government is determined to encourage investment in enterprise and unlock access to the capital firms need to grow.

“Thanks to their hard-won experience in business, business angels can be savvier than banks at spotting winners. By reinforcing their commitment with government support, the CoFund will support the most promising and entrepreneurial businesses, giving growth and jobs a kick-start.”

To date the fund has only been available to businesses in certain areas due to being funded from the Regional Growth Fund; but from this week, firms throughout the UK will be eligible for support.

George Whitehead, non-Executive Chairman of the Angel CoFund, said:

“The Angel CoFund works towards simple and sensible principles: we want to support and improve angel investing in the UK; and we want to get cash to good companies that can use the money to really scale their businesses. We are the most active fund in the country and the largest of its type in the World, and we are delighted to be able to support entrepreneurs across the UK in this way.”

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel

The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  •  to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Since its launch in November 2011, the fund has supported 27 companies, providing £10 million in direct investment alongside £40 million from business angels. The fund is now able to accelerate its activities to meet the increasing demand from UK companies for this type of long term equity support, with an additional investment of £50 million in the 2013 Budget as part of the government’s Business Bank programme.

Small businesses supported by the Angel CoFund include:

  • Yplan is a service delivered via an app which helps Londoners (and soon New Yorkers) to identify events, shows and gigs happening across their city. Co-founders Rytis Vitkauskas and Viktoras Jucikas are now in the process of taking their technology to the US, with the backing of a large US Venture Capital fund
  • PlayJam, is a London based publisher of games for Smart (internet enabled) TVs. With the fund’s support CEO Jasper Smith and his team are close to launching a new micro console
  •  Micrima,is a Bristol University spin-out which is revolutionising screening for breast cancer. Their approach is believed to be more effective and safer than existing technologies, providing significant help in the fight against the leading cause of death for women aged 35 to 55 in Europe.