UK start-up backer Tech Nation to shut down operations after government awards critical grant to Barclays digital incubator
UK tech start-up backer Tech Nation is to shut down after more than a decade, with the withdrawal of a critical £12 million government grant.
The body, set up by David Cameron in 2010 under the name Tech City, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, promoted the country’s digital start-ups, notably those that emerged in the “Silicon Roundabout” area of East London.
It led growth programmes for start-ups as well as processing visa applications for tech companies’ overseas staff.
On Tuesday the body said as a “direct result” of the withdrawal of the grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DMCS) it had determined its “remaining activities are not viable on a standalone basis”.
The DMCS’ £12m Digital Growth Grant was instead awarded to Barclays Bank’s Eagle Labs, which offers growth programmes, business mentoring and events.
The government said the grant was awarded following an open tender and a rigorous assessment process.
It said Barclays’ bid “represented the best value for taxpayers’ money as the full grant will be allocated to supporting the UK tech ecosystem, with Eagle Labs absorbing all operational and people costs associated with delivering the programme of activity”.
Tech Nation said it had begun a redundancy consultation process and had begun talks with Barclays about taking on workers whose primary role is government delivery work.
Tech Nation claims to have helped develop well-known UK tech firms such as Monzo, Revolut, Deliveroo, Just Eat, Darktrace and Ocado.
More than one-third of all UK tech unicorns were involved in a Tech Nation programme, it said, adding that its graduates have raised more than £28bn in funding to date.
It said 95 percent of the start-ups in its accelerator programmes have gone on to further stages of funding.