Tech Nation seeks new home as UK government awards tech ecosystem contract to Barclays • TechCrunch

Tech Nation seeks new home as UK government awards tech ecosystem contract to Barclays • TechCrunch

Tech Nation seeks new home as UK government awards tech ecosystem contract to Barclays • TechCrunch

>>> DOWNLOAD MP3 <<<

After more than a decade in operation, Tech Nation, the UK government-sanctioned ecosystem builder for UK tech startups and growing tech companies, is to cease operations after losing funding to a scheme run by Barclays Bank Eagle Labs.


The team behind the nonprofit, which got most of its funding from the UK government, now plans to seek new funders and new management, after closing on March 31, 2023. The Tech Nation’s visa program will continue in the immediate term.

In a statement, Tech Nation said, “With this foundation removed, Tech Nation’s remaining businesses are not viable on a stand-alone basis.”

However, its managing director, Gerard Getch, said that Tech Nation is “also actively seeking interested parties to acquire its portfolio of assets to move forward in a new form. We explored extensively whether Tech Nation could continue without core government funding, but concluded after extensive consultation that this was not an option.

He added, “We have a portfolio of Tech Nation assets and an internationally recognized brand, and we have already entered into discussions with mission-based organizations to move them forward. We invite expressions of interest from interested parties. »

The move comes at a time when the UK government has paid lip service to the idea of ​​the country as a ‘science and technology superpower’. A recent speech by the Chancellor saw him pleading with entrepreneurs to move to the UK:

“If anyone is considering starting or investing in an innovation or technology-driven business, I want them to do it here. I want tech entrepreneurs, life science innovators and green tech companies from around the world to come to the UK because it offers the best possible place to realize their visions,” he said.

However, the closure of Tech Nation and the rise of other overseas initiatives has left the UK pretty thin in the ‘encouraging innovation’ department.

Tech founders and investors are already lured by the $369 billion offered by the US Inflation Reduction Act for tech startups. In the EU, states like France are stepping up their support for technological entrepreneurship. Indeed, the state bank Bpifrance is injecting an additional 500 million euros into deeptech startups.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the government has reduced the R&D tax credit scheme for start-ups. And in a survey by industry body Coadec of more than 250 UK founders, the majority said the cuts had made the UK significantly less attractive.

TechCrunch understands that Tech Nation had already approached the government, asking them to consider absorbing it as a public body, but those talks went nowhere.

The Sunday Times previously reported that government officials fear Tech Nation is “breaking state aid rules because it has not become self-sufficient”, leading officials to issue an appeal for deals earlier this year.

Tech Nation has long been embedded in the UK tech startup scene. Tech City UK, its predecessor, was launched in 2011 by former Prime Minister David Cameron and largely focused on the London ecosystem until 2018 when it merged with Tech North (based in Manchester) . He has since gone on to run a myriad of programs connecting tech startups and scaling with each other and with investors in the UK and overseas.
The organization claims to have helped make the UK Europe’s leading digital economy. While 80% of startups fail in their first 2-5 years, more than 95% of startups in Tech Nation’s accelerator programs have scaled, he claims. More than a third of all tech unicorns and decacorns created in the UK have graduated from a Tech Nation programme, collectively raising more than £28bn to date in venture capital and capital markets. Alumni include Monzo, Revolut, Depop, Bloom & Wild, Zilch, Just Eat, Darktrace, Marshmallow, Ocado, Skyscanner, Peak AI and Deliveroo. As a government-backed organisation, Tech Nation claims to have generated a return of £15 on every pound funded by the UK government.

Critics of the government’s decision to award the contract to Barclays say it will place it in a conflict of interest, such as the need to support startups in the fintech space that may compete with it. One said the government had “effectively given funds to Barclays to acquire new customers” and was a “potential competitor or customer of the startups it is supposed to support”.

Many Northern tech leaders had previously expressed dismay that Tech Nation would lose government support at this point in the economy.

“There is still such an equity gap for northern funders. Organizations like Tech Nation are effectively the connective tissue between what is ultimately still a fledgling ecosystem on a global scale,” Ben Davies, group marketing director at financial services firm Praetura, told Prolific North.

Dan Sodergren, co-founder of Manchester-based people support platform Your FLOCK, said: “Without Tech Nation, we wouldn’t have the ecosystem outside of London that we have. They have also been fundamental with programs like Libra, Net Zero net or Rising Stars. These things were happening long before the rest of the market.

“Whatever you think, good or bad, the death of Tech Nation marks the end of an era for the UK startup ecosystem. The idea of ​​government as a provider of startup advice to backed founders by Tier 1 VCs is over. We need to ensure that any aid now reflects the needs of the future and not the past – that means keeping the good things like a well-known visa offer intact and ensuring that the government focuses on creating the best environment for tech startups, with extra support going to those who need it most and not those who can probably find it anyway,” said Dom Hallas, Executive Director of Coadec.


Do you find AfroNaija useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button