Wales’ Fintechs Future Fund feedback

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Gavin Powell Profile Image Gavin Powell 28 Apr 2020

 

UK Fintech Network response to Future Fund

 

The UK FinTech sector is represented by the HM Treasury appointed envoys, and the bodies that operate in the related regions. Regionally in the UK this consists of North England, Northern Ireland, South East England & London, South West England, Scotland and Wales.

In response to the recently proposed Future Fund, the set of regional bodies gathered feedback from across the FinTech community to provide a viewpoint to relay back to HM Treasury and other stakeholders.

Below is a summary of those points taken from all regions, but outside of London. London is typically a special case and the most value can be derived when excluding them from this summary.

Note: These are the views of the communities that we represent and are not necessarily our own. It is very natural to speak up to criticise and challenge as shown in the feedback, but that should not be taken as a sign that there are not equally as many positives. In fact the general response is that the scheme is welcomed.

 

The key points that were common for all regions (outside of London)

  1. It is felt that the scheme and suggested T&Cs are very London company centric
  2. Many businesses have raised less than £250,000
  3. Early stage companies often self-fund to start so don’t have VC backing
  4. Use of/engagement with regional bodies to manage funds would allow those funds to be tailored to local nuances
  5. Compatibility to EIS/SEIS, or its lack of, is at least a perceived blocker to attract matched funding

 

Wales

The points and comments that were specific to Wales are shown below:

  1. Cashflow is king right now and many businesses need cash flow interventions to start over the coming weeks.
  2. Incentivisation for investors would improve chances of acquiring matched funding
  3. Compatibility with EIS/SEIS would incentives investors. Increasing tax relief on EIS/SEIS schemes would further incentivise investors.
  4. Allowing the private portion of matched funding to be utilised now and the public part after any due process would aid in cashflow.
  5. Usage of Dev Bank Wales for matched funding (and or other mechanisms) could benefit start-up Welsh companies.
  6. A more rapid turnaround of R&D Tax Credits would improve short term cash flow.
  7. FCA accredited companies can have additional constraints when considering debt capital
  8. Schemes could be fine-tuned to account for different circumstances such as
    1. Those that do not pass threshold of ‘in need’ but still apply for support
    2. Those that do not pass threshold of ‘robustness’ but still apply for support and wish to retain equity
  9. Outside of London it is common to have raised less than £250k. In Wales the Dev Bank scheme for supporting start-ups tops out at £250k
  10. There are clear regional differences and benefits could be seen from regionalising how any support is offered/managed.

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