Government-backed £37.5m fund launched to assist UK firms

A new government-backed fund has been launched to provide UK technology entrepreneurs with support to succeed on the world stage.

Venture capitalists Episode 1 are launching a government-backed £37.5 million fund that will see between £250,000 and £2 million invested into 20 to 30 early stage firms with companies having to demonstrate potential to “be disruptive” in the Internet and mobile sectors.

Firms will also have to show they have existing customers in order to validate a proposal and through the matched-funding scheme the government is hoping to stimulate growth. 

“We are determined to give entrepreneurs the financial support they need to grow. This new £37.5 million Enterprise Capital Fund will target a serious gap in the equity market for high growth small firms,” said Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The three partners behind the fund are Simon Murdoch, Damien Lane, and Adrian Lloyd, who will, as well as investing money, be on hand to actively work with companies to help them succeed. The three have, in the past, invested money in the likes of Betfair, LoveFilm, Zoopla, Shazam, and Shutl at an early stage and will be looking to find the next success story.

“Raising venture funding is even harder. Our aim is to establish Episode 1 as the best place to come for early stage technology entrepreneurs looking for up to £2m of funding,” Murdoch stated. “We’ve raised the money for the fund from other entrepreneurs and successful business people and this has been supplemented by the finance matching from the UK government which enables us to invest and help more high growth UK businesses with global-market aspirations.”

Other backers include Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of Zoopla, Tom Allason, founder of Shutl, as well as Nick Austin and Alan Bennie, founders of Vivid Toy Group.