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Tech Nation closes after losing government grant

Skyscanner was among the firms supported by Tech Nation (pic: Terry Miurden)

Tech Nation, the UK body created to champion the sector, is ceasing operationsafter the termination of its core government grant funding from the end of March.

The UK government recently handed the £12.1 million Digital Growth Grant contract – designed to help small and scaling tech businesses across the UK – to Barclays Eagle Labs.

More than 95% of startups featuring on Tech Nation’s accelerator programmes – including Skyscanner in Edinburgh – have gone on to scale through its programmes.

It was set up by the coalition government in 2014, was given responsibility to promote the country’s digital industry.

More than a third of all tech unicorns created in the UK having graduated from one of the programmes, collectively raising more than £28 billion in venture capital and capital markets. 

Monzo, Revolut, Depop, Bloom & Wild, Zilch, Just Eat, Darktrace, Marshmallow, Ocado, Peak AI and Deliveroo are among more than 5,000 businesses it has supported.

Tech Nation, which has commenced a redundancy consultation process for all permanent employees, is actively seeking interested parties to acquire its portfolio of assets to take forward in a new guise. For staff whose primary role is DCMS delivery work, it has initiated TUPE discussions with Barclays Bank and informed DCMS of this.

Stephen Ingledew, chairman of FinTech Scotland, described its leadership as “impactful and valuable”.

Ron Kalifa, author of the Kalifa review of UK fintech for the Treasury and former chief executive of Worldpay, said: “Having Tech Nation lead the national connectivity chapter of the review was hugely impactful as it brought together several different constituents, from founders to academics and from investors to ecosystem regional leaders.”

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