Startups

UK tech unicorns ask chancellor for access to emergency loans

The leaders of some of the UK’s most successful technology startups sent a letter to the chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday claiming that they are being left behind by his various government-backed business interruption schemes, announced as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The 12 executives have asked the chancellor to “urgently set up a taskforce meeting of leading tech businesses to work with you and your officials to find a way for high-growth tech companies to be able to access the lending schemes you have already established or new schemes if necessary.” You can read the letter in full here.

The letter has been signed by founders including Ali Parsa of GP app Babylon Health, Hayden Wood of renewable energy provider Bulb, Poppy Gustafsson at cybersecurity darling Darktrace, Herman Narula of Softbank-backed Improbable, Azmat Yusuf of Citymapper, and Will Shu of Deliveroo, the food delivery service which is booming during the pandemic.

Read next: British startups locked out of COVID-19 business continuity schemes

Many of the signatures come from well-funded so-called ‘unicorn‘ status companies, which have reached a private valuation of at least $1 billion, but any connection between them is less clear.

The likes of AI services startup Faculty (which raised $10.3 million in November last year while profitable, according to Pitchbook), Five AI (which raised £41 million in March) and crypto exchange Blockchain (£70 million in funding, according to Crunchbase) have raised far less funding than other signatories of the letter.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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