New £375m scheme to encourage investment in R&D open for applications

A new £375m scheme to drive investment in the UK’s most high growth, innovative and R&D intensive firms has opened for applications.

The Future Fund: Breakthrough (FF:B) has been introduced to encourage private investors to co-invest in high-growth, Innovative firms. The programme makes equity co-investments with private sector investors in growth stage R&D-intensive British companies operating in breakthrough technology sectors.

Key Points

  •  Minimum total investment round size of £30m
  • Maximum FF:B investment round share of 30% 
  • Companies must have raised at least £5m in previous funding rounds 
  • Companies must be UK based with significant UK operations 
  • The application must be made by a lead investor

Companies

The fund is designed to provide equity funding to innovative, R&D-intensive UK companies operating in breakthrough technology sectors (such as quantum, clean tech, and life sciences). These are sectors which typically have a longer lead time to product commercialisation.

The fund is focused where there is the greatest need for intervention to increase the investment round size.

Criteria:

  • The company receiving investment should be UK based (UK incorporated) with significant UK operations (meaning at least half of its overall employment base and research employees are based in the UK).
  • The company must be carrying out R&D activity in the UK by meeting all three of the following criteria:
    • R&D spending (as defined by pre-set accounting rules) will have been at least 10% of total operational cost base on average over the last 3 years or at least 15% in one of the past 3 years.
    • Company is developing defensible intellectual property in the UK which they expect to be the company’s main revenue source. 
    • Company intends that 20% or more employees will be carrying our research for at least 3 years from the date of investment, in roles that require a relevant master’s degree or higher.
  • The company must have raised at least £5m of equity investment from third-party investors in previous funding rounds in the last five years prior to FF:B investment.
  • The company must be raising a minimum investment round size of £30m.

Lead Investors

The lead investor can be a new or existing investor. The lead does not have to be the biggest investor but most contribute a significant amount to the investment round.

Criteria (lead must meet one of these points):

  • Any fund managed or advised by an FCA (or equivalent) authorised firm with private sector investment making up greater than 50% of the total fund size and who is currently managing an active fund greater than £100m. The fund must have raised capital from at least three independent LPs (or equivalent) and the fund must have a written investment strategy that aligns with the FF:B investment strategy.
  • Any fund or investment vehicle with an appropriate investment strategy, managed or advised by a fund manager which has applied to and obtained an investment from a member of the British Business Bank group. For example, those supported by British Patient Capital and by the Enterprise Capital Funds programme.
  • Other equivalent investment vehicles i.e. those with greater than £100m of investment capital, a broad range of independent investors, and an appropriate investment strategy, where these have been approved by FF:B.

Read the full Government announcement.

Read more information on eligibility and how to apply.

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