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Remember the Future Fund? Here’s where the UK government’s money went

A list of the 158 startups backed by the government, via the Future Fund.

By Amy Lewin

London-based startup Spill

When UK chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the UK government would be investing in Covid-struck startups via a new fund, the Future Fund, he started a big debate.

Some thought the government shouldn’t be investing in startups at all. Others weren’t convinced that the government should be investing in the kind of startup struggling to raise last summer. And some criticised the fund for failing to cater to the needs of diverse and regional founders. 

Now, 15 months on, the British Business Bank has finally released a list of 158 startups in which the Future Fund holds an equity stake so far.

In total, the Future Fund issued 1,190 companies with convertible loan notes totalling £1.14bn. The startups listed below are just those which had successfully raised further funding rounds by August 31. 

We highlight 11 of the businesses backed by the government, followed by the full list. 

11 notable names backed by the Future Fund

Onboard a Zeelo commuter bus (pre-Covid!)

Zeelo

Green transport is in the spotlight — and London-based Zeelo is hoping it stays there. It runs electric commuter bus services for customers who would otherwise rely on their cars to get them to work or school. In August it raised a $12m funding round, led by ETF Partners, with participation from InMotion Ventures.

Vaccitech

Founded by now world-famous scientists Sarah Gilbert and Adrian Hill in 2016, Vaccitech developed the technology used to create the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. In March this year it raised a $168m Series B, and in April this year, the Oxford-based startup debuted on Nasdaq. 

Snoop

Norwich-based money saving mobile app Snoop flags when customers are spending more money than they need to on bills, and identifies opportunities for them to save money too. It was founded in 2019 and raised a £15m Series A funding round in July.

Tickr / CIRCA5000

Green investment app Tickr, which recently rebranded to CIRCA5000, allows users to invest in impact-oriented companies and offset their carbon emissions via its mobile app. The Liverpool-based company raised £2.5m in February, in a round led by Ada Ventures. And it’s one to watch, say investors.

Spill

It’s boom time for mental health apps, and London-based Spill is picking up plenty of customers as a result. Its app makes it easy for employees to figure out if they need — and if so, book — therapy sessions. It’s used by companies like Bulb, Typeform, Depop and Citymapper and in January raised a £2m seed round. 

In this opinion piece, founder Calvin Benton shares how to prevent and cure burnout in your team.

Motorway

Used cars are big business — in the UK alone, it’s a £60bn market — and investors are taking note. In June, London-based Motorway raised £48m in June in a round led by Index Ventures. It operates a marketplace where car owners can upload their vehicles and car dealers can bid at a daily auction, and was selling around 4k cars each month in the summer. 

Monese

Digital banking app Monese was looking to raise a funding round, which would value it at £1bn, just before the pandemic struck. Its inclusion on the Future Fund list confirms that it has raised since then — but hasn’t yet announced how much. 

Kano Computing

Kids computer kit startup Kano, founded by Alex Klein, nephew of well-known VC Saul Klein, hasn’t turned into quite the rocketship investors hoped for. It raised a $28m Series B in 2017 — and then things went quiet. It reportedly lost $13.7m in 2019, and its last announced funding was a $1m cheque from Microsoft in July 2020. 

Funderbeam CEO and founder Kaidi Ruusalepp

Funderbeam

London-based Funderbeam is bringing much-desired liquidity to startup employees and early-stage investors in Europe. It allows them to trade their shares on its marketplace, and helps startups raise money too. It raised a €3.3m round in April led by Tim Draper. 

Cervest

Cervest, one of Sifted’s 100 sustainability startups to watch, uses AI to analyse data on ‘climate risk’ — like weather events. That helps its customers, which include corporates and governments, manage and adapt to that risk. The London-based startup was founded in 2016 and raised a $30m Series A in May led by Draper Esprit. 

Beamery

Recruitment software startup Beamery helps companies source, hire and retain people. It reportedly hit a valuation of around $800m when it raised a $138m funding round in June, led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. 

The full list

Company Location
1854 Media Limited East of England
3Radical Limited South West
Additive Manufacturing Technologies Ltd Yorkshire and the Humber
Aeristech Limited West Midlands
Ai Exchange Ltd London
Airfinity Limited London
Altitude Angel Ltd South East
Arc Group Global Ltd London
Arksen Limited South East
Balre Technologies Ltd London
Beamery Inc London
Better Tasting Drinks Co. Limited East Midlands
Bivictrix Therapeutics Limited Wales
Blu Wireless Technology Limited South West
Bockatech Ltd East of England
Boxwize Ltd London
Ceed Ltd London
Century-Tech Limited London
Cervest Limited London
Cherryz Ltd London
Chip Financial Ltd London
Cipher Surgical Limited Scotland
Cirdan Imaging Limited Northern Ireland
Cloud 8 Limited South West
Clyz Labs Limited North West
Cognitive Credit Limited London
Concured Limited London
Content Calendr Limited London
Corrosion Radar Limited South East
Counting Ltd London
Credit Laser Holdings Limited London
Crikle Business Platforms Limited London
Dice FM Ltd London
Digital Home Visits Ltd London
Digital Reality Corp Ltd London
Dragonfly Biosciences Limited London
DueDil Limited London
Edge Petrol Limited London
Elite Crowdfunding Limited London
Engage Technology Partners Limited South East
Executives Place Limited London
Fairscore Ltd London
Footballnet (Global) Limited London
Funderbeam LTD. London
Gearbox Records Ltd London
Gelmetix Limited North West
Gendius Limited North West
Global Property Ventures Limited East of England
Gobsmack Holdings Limited East of England
Gunna Drinks Limited South East
Gyrogear Limited South East
Helio Display Materials Limited London
Hydro Industries Limited London
Imagine Mortgages Limited London
Infinitesima Limited South East
Inotec Amd Limited East of England
Invest and Fund Limited South East
Jacuna Ltd London
JAJA Finance Holding (UK) Limited London
Juggle JOBS Ltd South East
Juno Legal Holdings Limited London
Kano Computing Limited London
Karus Therapeutics Limited South East
Kets Quantum Security Ltd South West
Kroo Ltd London
Leucid Bio Ltd East of England
LGN Innovations Limited Wales
Life In The Cocoon Limited London
Locate Bio Limited East Midlands
Lovecrafts Group Limited London
Maxwellia Ltd North West
Medherant Limited West Midlands
Mindtech Global Limited Yorkshire and the Humber
Mindtrace Limited North West
Misfits Health Ltd London
Molo Tech Ltd London
Mom Incubators LTD. East Midlands
Monese Ltd London
Monolith Ai Limited London
Motorway Online Ltd London
Mysense Group Ltd London
Nell Health Ltd London
Nerre Therapeutics Holdings Limited East of England
Nova Pangaea (Holdings) Ltd North East
Novatiq Limited East of England
Occuity Ltd West Midlands
Odondo Limited London
Oneskee Limited East Midlands
Online Giving Ltd London
Origami Energy Limited East of England
Oto International Limited London
Oxular Limited South East
Passfort Limited London
Pay Later Group Limited London
Penfold Technology Ltd London
Peratech Holdco Ltd North East
Perceptual Robotics Limited South West
Phaim Pharma Ltd London
Phoenix Product Development Limited London
Plu&M Limited London
Pollen + Grace Limited London
Power Roll Limited North East
Prodigy Investments Limited London
Project Imagine Ltd London
Prokarium Holdings Ltd London
Proportunity Ltd London
Pulsiv Solar Limited East of England
Pycom Ltd South East
Quanta Dialysis Technologies Limited West Midlands
Raffolux Ltd East of England
Reactive Technologies Limited South East
Real VR Limited London
Reallyenglish.Com Limited London
Rente Limited West Midlands
Rezolve Limited London
Ripple Energy Limited London
Riversimple Holding Limited Wales
Rlt International Limited South East
Robin Ai Limited London
Scoodle Ltd London
Secret Group Limited London
Secret Spa (London) Ltd London
Shieldpay Ltd North West
Signal Media Limited London
Sine Wave Entertainment Limited London
Skinny Tonic Limited North West
Smart Pension Limited London
Sort Holdings Ltd London
Spill App Ltd London
Sport Maison Limited London
Spring Financial Group Limited South East
Spybiotech Limited South East
Startpulsing Limited London
Synapse Information Limited West Midlands
The London Interdisciplinary School Ltd London
The Shackleton Design

and Manufacturing Company Ltd

East of England
Theolytics Ltd South East
Tickr Ltd London
Tifosy Limited London
Ultraleap Holdings Limited South West
Underpinned Ltd London
Unwasted Limited London
Usnoop Limited London
Vaccitech Limited South East
Vaix Limited London
Volt Technologies Ltd London
Voxpopme Limited West Midlands
Warwick Acoustics Limited West Midlands
Watkins Drinks Limited East Midlands
Wildanet Limited South West
Yanchep Holdings Limited London
Yellow Line Parking Ltd London
Yordex Ltd London
Yuchelka Ltd London
Zeelo Limited London
Zelp Ltd London
zero carbon food ltd London
ZOKU Ltd West Midlands

Amy Lewin is Sifted’s deputy editor. She covers VC, foodtech and diversity in tech, and tweets from @amyrlewin

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Conor
Conor

For, ‘Here’s Where the UK Gov’s Money Went’, read, ‘London & SE England’.

Robin Klein
Robin Klein

Thanks for the correction…The Future Fund may prove to be the most cost effective support which the Govt gave to small, growing businesses in the UK throughout the Pandemic

Robin Klein
Robin Klein

“If we are to go down the bailout fund route, we should only consider investing tax payers money through either crowd or institutional co-investing. This would ensure that only the startups and scaleups that continue to have the backing of existing investors benefit from the state’s support. A time-limited co-investment fund, with no profit share, that returns all profits to the Exchequer and is run by experienced investors is the sort of model that could avoid the very real problem of adverse selection.” — this is exactly what the Future Fund is.

Michael Stothard
Michael Stothard

Hi Robin, you are absolutely right here, sorry about that. We’re removed that reference. Apologies. Michael

Robin Klein
Robin Klein

A proper read of your article https://sifted.eu/articles/startup-bailout-uk/ I think expands on the thinking – despite the ‘clickbait’ headline

Robin Klein
Robin Klein

Your reference to my ‘opposition’ to the Government investing in startups is misleading. I remain opposed to the Government picking winners and investing in startups without MATCHED funding from the private sector.
So, on the contrary, we were very supportive of the Future Fund and actively consulted with HMT in the design and development of the fund.
Robin Klein – LocalGlobe and Latitude