Tech leaders urge next government to help startups become scaleups

Leading tech figures have called for “targeted intervention” from the next UK government to ensure entrepreneurs can overcome the funding gap from startup to scaleup.

An open letter, signed by more than 70 figures from the tech and investment world including techUK, Beauhurst and Barclays, warned that the UK’s position as a tech leader was slipping as startups struggle to secure funding through to the scaleup stage.

Organised by the investment community VenturePath, the letter said that last year fewer than 300 startups in the UK accessed VC funding in a Series A round – the stage when a company typically begins scaling significantly.

To tackle this, VenturePath has put forward a six-stage process requiring participation from entrepreneurs, investors and the government.

The group said supporters of the UK’s scaleup “mission” must provide promising firms with data, select strong candidates through nationwide partner network referrals, support these firms using connections, community and capital, and celebrate them across the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, investors should have the capability to find promising startups via a “central index of UK scaling businesses seeking growth capital” and fund them with a ready pool of Series A and B capital.

“Ambition is evenly distributed but access to support, networks and capital isn’t,” said signatory and former Dragons’ Den star Piers Linney.

“In order for the UK to remain relevant on the global economic stage, and as a nation of innovators, we have to ensure that our entrepreneurs and innovators have access to capital at all stages wherever they are located. This isn’t optional.”

Fellow signatory Tanya Suarez, CEO of IoT Tribe, added: “The new government should be ready to take action from day one. There is an active, experienced community ready to support and take real steps to 10x UK tech and particularly deep tech.

“We know what works. We know what doesn’t work. We are ready to rebuild and boost.”

Other signatures of the letter – shared exclusively with UKTN – include The Entrepreneurs Network founder Philip Salter, SFC Capital CEO Stephen Page, Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw, and Great British Entrepreneur Awards founder Francesca James.

The open letter is one of several to the next government from the tech sector ahead of the general election on Thursday, including calls to support skilled immigration.


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