The new Future Fund scheme, announced by the Government to support innovative UK companies, opens for applications from Wednesday 20 May until the end of September 2020.

Until this time, these companies will have been unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment.

The companies that could benefit from the Future Fund are those that:

  • Will be essential in ensuring the UK retains its world leading position in science, innovation and technology;
  • Typically rely on equity investment;
  • Are facing a significantly extended length of time between funding rounds; and
  • Are currently negatively affected by COVID-19.

Developed by the government and delivered by the British Business Bank, the Future Fund will help these companies through the current period of economic disruption and recovery, so they are able to continue their growth trajectory and reach their full economic potential.

A broad range of third-party investors can invest alongside the government as part of the scheme.

How it works

  • UK companies provided with between £125k-£5m in government support, with third-party investors at least matching the government commitment;
  • This means the minimum loan to a company is £250k;
  • There is no maximum, since there is no upper limit on the amount that additional investors may co-invest;
  • Each company seeking funding must identify investors to contribute to the matched funding amount;
  • Uses Convertible Loans, meaning there is no requirement to value the company or the price of its shares at this time, the Convertible Loan agreement can be found here;
  • No requirement for a company to make regular repayments; and
  • The convertible loans are designed to convert into equity at the next funding round, when an equity value can be negotiated between companies and investors.

Eligibility

  • Companies must be UK-incorporated and if part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible;
  • Companies in receipt of the loans will be required to have previously raised at least £250k in equity investment from third party investors in the last five years;
  • Only eligible companies that can attract at least 50% of third-party investment will receive funding; and
  • Companies cannot have any of their shares traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue.

How to apply

  • The Future Fund uses an online platform for applications;
  • The programme is investor led and does not match companies seeking funding with investors;
  • An application is initiated by a lead investor who will provide information about itself, other investors in the round and the company;
  • If an application is successful, the platform generates documentation for the company and all investors to sign;
  • Companies will be responsible for confirming company information and reviewing the application before submission;
  • The company must have been incorporated on or before 31 December 2019; and
  • At least one of the following must be true for the company:
    – Half or more employees are UK based
    – Half or more revenues are from UK sales.

Information about the Future Fund, including standard terms and eligibility criteria, is available here.