By Claire West
The Prime Minister has today announced the creation of the UK Innovation Investment Fund to invest in technology-based businesses with high growth potential. The new fund will focus on investing in growing small businesses, start-ups and spin-outs, in digital and life sciences, clean technology and advanced manufacturing.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department of Health, will invest £150 million alongside private sector investment on an equal basis known as pari-passu.
It is the Government’s belief that this could leverage enough private investment to build a fund of up to £1 billion over the next 10 years. The UK Innovation Investment Fund forms part of the Government’s strategy for Building Britain’s Future.
Gordon Brown said:
“This fund will help build Britain’s future by investing in key sectors. It will provide crucial support for our most promising start-ups and existing small companies just when they need it most. Venture capital finance is the lifeblood of innovation and crucial to ensuring the commercialisation of the discoveries coming out of our research base. The fund will boost future UK competitiveness.”
Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, added:
“In our New Industry New Jobs strategy we identified access to venture capital as one of the critical factors in developing innovative new companies in Britain. The UK Innovation Investment Fund will be a shot in the arm for the British venture capital industry. It is also a challenge to UK venture capitalists to follow the Government’s lead in backing British entrepreneurs in building exciting new companies, investing in new technologies and creating jobs.”
Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson, who has been a champion for the fund, added:
“We must safeguard the Government’s record investment in the science and research base over the past decade. We cannot afford to lose out on the wealth this investment can yield and we will need this wealth to continue our sustained investment in research.”
Simon Walker, CEO of the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA), said:
“The BVCA is immensely encouraged by this venture capital initiative. The model that has been adopted is one which we have championed in our work with the Government leading up to this announcement. The UK Innovation Investment Fund offers an exciting economic incentive for more than a thousand young venture-backed companies and the ideas and jobs which they represent.”
Richard Pelly, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund (EIF), said:
“EIF has been working together with the UK Government, the BVCA and other significant players in the Venture Capital sector in the preparation of this welcome new initiative, and is delighted to support its launch today.
“At a difficult time for the VC industry the UK Innovation Investment Fund will underpin a next round of critically important fundraising for Fund Managers, and EIF looks forward to continuing to contribute its extensive experience to the development of this process.”
The UK Innovation Investment Fund will operate on a Fund of Funds structure which means it will not invest directly in companies, but rather invest in a small number of specialist technology funds that have the expertise and track record to invest directly in companies. The fund will provide a cost effective solution that provides a market return to both private sector investors and HM Government.