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British Business Bank Publishes Updated List of 661 Companies in Which the Future Fund has an Equity Interest

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The British Business Bank has published a list of 75 additional companies in which the Future Fund holds an equity interest, taking total equity holdings to 661 as at 30 September 2023.

The rate of conversions in Q2 2023/4 remained consistent compared to the previous quarter, with 75 new additions. Similarly, the number of insolvencies this quarter continued at the same pace as the previous quarter, with 17 new insolvencies added. This sustained level of corporate activity is in part due to outstanding Future Fund loans nearing their three year maturity date. We continue to contact companies with outstanding loans to set out the options available to them. As at 26 October 2023, 66 loans have been extended by up to two years.

Companies in which the Future Fund now holds an equity interest include Wales-based Cross-Flow Energy Company Limited, a renewable energy technology company helping businesses across the world leverage the power of ‘small wind’ to support the roll-out of clean, reliable energy solutions; Micrima Limited, a spin-out from the University of Bristol that is on a mission to detect more instances of breast cancer at an earlier stage; and AstronauTx Limited, a biotech company spun out of University College London that is exploring new ways of treating Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, British Business Bank said:

“The Future Fund was created to ensure a flow of capital, at the height of the pandemic, to companies that would otherwise have been unable to access government support schemes, while ensuring long-term value for the UK taxpayer. We are pleased to see so many of those companies now going on to raise further private sector capital, which will allow the Future Fund to benefit from their progress.”

Launched on 20 May 2020, and open for applications until 31 January 2021, the Future Fund issued 1,190 companies with convertible loans worth £1.14bn in total. Third-party investors were required to at least match the Future Fund’s investment.

The Future Fund supported UK companies that typically rely on equity investment to fund their growth. By creating a bridge to the next equity funding round, the Future Fund supported these companies through a period of considerable economic disruption and now the recovery.

The scheme used a recognised financial instrument known as a convertible loan. Unlike an equity investment, there wasn’t a requirement under the convertible loan to value the company or the price of its shares, at a time when company valuations had been significantly impacted by Covid-19. Instead, the convertible loans are designed to convert into equity either at the next equity funding round or if the company is acquired through a sale or IPO.

An independent year two assessment of the Future Fund has also been published, following a first early assessment published in 2022. The analysis focused on contrast of the Future Fund portfolio against a counterfactual group, a group of comparable companies, to look at performance across metrics using secondary data. The assessment found evidence of positive impact of the Future Fund on fundraising and comparison of valuations and sales data suggest future growth expectations for portfolio companies, although turnover growth, employment growth and survival prospects were lower over 2021-2022 when compared to the counterfactual group. It also found evidence that some Future Fund portfolio companies had a strong focus on research and development activities, which could be impacting turnover and employment metrics.

The assessment did not capture outliers in the Future Fund portfolio, companies which could drive future performance in the long term, and did not look at value-for-money metrics. It concluded that it was still too early to measure overall impact as the portfolio is still at an early-stage, and the period of partial data analysed meant some companies in the portfolio received funding later than others.

Breakdown of the total portfolio as at 30 September 2023

As at 30 September 2023

Number of investments (Original loan value)

Previous Quarter

Number of investments

Change since previous quarter

Number of investments

Loans 329* £298m 420 -91
Equity interests 661 £652m 591 70
Cash realisations 55 £48m 51 4
Insolvencies 146 £138m 129 17
Total 1,191 £1,137m 1,191  

*As at 26 October 2023, 66 loans have been extended by up to two years.

Business News Wales