Venture Capital Future Fund for Innovative Companies

The government’s £500m Future Fund opened for applications on Wednesday 20 May to help innovative and high-growth British businesses to secure investment during the coronavirus.

Information as of Wednesday 20 May 2020 at 12pm UK

As highlighted in our previous article covering the various Government measures to assist companies affected by the coronavirus, the UK Government is offering a £1.25bn support package for innovative companies in the UK. This includes a £500m investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by COVID-19, comprised of funding from the Government and the private sector. The Government has initially pledged £250m to the new fund delivered by the British Business Bank.

How to qualify

To qualify, a company must:

  • be able to secure an equal or greater amount of match funding from private investors;
  • be a UK registered private company with “substantive economic presence in the UK”; and
  • have previously raised at least £250k in private investment in the past five years between 1 April 2015 and 19 April 2020.

How to apply

The Future Fund was first announced in April with applications being accepted from 20 May. The Government has said the scheme will be kept “under review”, suggesting funding could be increased in the future.

Applications will initially be open until the end of September 2020. To apply, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund.

Provided a company meets the criteria, an amount between £125k and £5m will be made available by the Government in the form of unsecured convertible loans (which is to be matched by private investors on the same terms).

Interest of at least 8% will be due after a maximum of 36 months, although a company may be able to elect to repay accrued interest.

Substantive Economic Presence

To meet this requirement, a company must either have at least:

  • 50% of their employees in the UK; or
  • 50% of their revenues generated by UK sales.

Compatibility with Enterprise Investment Schemes

The Government's current convertible loans do not meet the existing Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) qualifying requirements. This suggests that private investors would not be entitled to the relevant tax relief on their match funding which would be applicable under EIS or SEIS.

Although the current guidance confirms that the match funding must be advanced in the form of a convertible loan and so will not be EIS or SEIS qualifying based on the current rules, the Government has stated its commitment to amending the rules of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) to protect Future Fund investors from losing relief on previous investments.

Research & Development Fund

A £750m grants and loans package is also available to Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) focused on research and development.

For more information on the various loans, grants and reliefs and to discuss your eligibility, please contact Keeley or Melissa below:

Keeley Stock
Partner
Tel: +44 (0)20 7430 5895
Email: kstock@fitzandlaw.com

Melissa Christopher
Partner
Tel: +44 (0)20 7430 5894
Email: mchristopher@fitzandlaw.com

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