UK Treasury Takes Taxpayer Stakes In Kombucha, Solar Power And VR Startups With Future Fund
The UK Treasury has taken stakes in over 150 startups through its Future Fund. The fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million.
UK businesses receiving a portion of the £1.1 billion in funding include a solar power startup, a protein bar company, a VR gaming company, and a producer of kombucha drinks. The Future Fund closed its applications at the end of January 2021, having been established to “innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.”
The government has said that these convertible loans may be an option for companies reliant on equity investment and unable to access other government business support programmes, either because they are pre-revenue or because they’re pre-profit. If not repaid, the loans would convert into equity stakes at the next funding round, with external investors required to at least match the amount contributed by the government.
158 largely loss-making businesses are now backed by the UK government through the fund. 1,200 startups took loans, meaning Chancellor Rishi Sunak will likely be left with stakes in hundreds of other businesses.
It remains unclear as to how the government intends to monetise any investments upon maturity of the loans, with firm commitments yet to be revealed.