Tech Nation to fold at end of March after Government grant withdrawn
Tech Nation, the Government backed body that has helped hundreds of start ups, including about a third of all Britain’s unicorns, get off the ground, is to close at the end of March.
The Silicon Roundabout based organisation set up by David Cameron in 2011 said it was no longer viable after DCMS transferred its £12 million funding to Barclays Bank.
In a statement Tech Nation said it “will be ceasing all existing operations through a carefully planned wind-down and has commenced a redundancy consultation process” with its 70 staff.
The closure will be seen a major symbolic setback for London’s ambitions to hold on to its status as the world’s most vibrant tech capital outside America.
The Tech Nation statement said: “We want to thank the thousands of tech founders who have participated in our programs, training, events and research over the years; in particular for how they approached their involvement with candidacy, commitment and collaboration, which has been the foundation of the strength of the Tech Nation network.”
It added: “It is vital that Government rhetoric is now paired with policies and support mechanisms to match.
“Now is the moment for the UK Government to set a clear vision with coherent plans for the next decade of tech scaleup growth and success, where the UK can race away from European countries even further and truly compete with Silicon Valley’s finest.”
Founding CEO Gerard Grech said: “Tech Nation is a purpose-led organisation, with a mission to serve the UK’s tech ecosystem. By delivering services and insights impartially across Britain, Tech Nation has made a huge and positive impact on the UK’s digital economy. The UK now boasts over 20 places with one tech unicorn or more, five times what it was in 2014.
“Many of Britain’s most successful tech companies, from Monzo to Deliveroo, and from Skyscanner to Darktrace, have passed through one or more of Tech Nation’s growth programs. We have helped champion and support innovators in everything from AI to FinTech to Climate tech and more. In doing so, we have helped spread digital growth and jobs nation-wide. For every pound invested in Tech Nation, we have returned £15.”
Martha Lane Fox, President of the British Chambers of Commerce and co-founsder of Lastminute.com, said: “As an entrepreneur and digital champion, I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact that Tech Nation has had in creating one of the most exciting and dynamic parts of our economy. The skills they’ve equipped entrepreneurs with and opportunities they’ve created have been second to none. They will be missed.”
Barclays’ tech incubator Eagle Labs will use the government grant — awarded for just two years — to launch new programmes to help tech companies.