Founders Forum Group acquires Tech Nation

The acquisition by the entrepreneur network represents an opportunity to sustain Tech Nation’s ethos of supporting UK startups.

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Founders Forum Group (FFG) has formally acquired Tech Nation in a bid to continue the startup support network’s mission to empower the UK’s tech sector.

This injects a dose of confidence back into the startups industry, which was left in shock when Tech Nation announced its closure in March after its government funding was pulled.

FFG is a global community of businesses that seeks to support entrepreneurs at every stage of growth and foster an innovative environment akin to Silicon Valley. It’s known for hosting events and forums like London Tech Week.

Tech Nation programmes and reports will be relaunched as part of FFG’s existing portfolio of events and services tailored to entrepreneurs.

Tech Nation’s outgoing founding CEO Gerard Grech and Board Director Sarah Wood will help steer the transition as part of FFG’s Tech Nation Advisory Board.

How did we get here?

TechNation ceased operations on March 31 after the government pulled its funding last September.

Launched in 2011, Tech Nation was financed by the government’s Digital Growth Grant. This was a £12.09 million pot of money used to aid the UK’s existing digital tech firms, enable startups to scale-up, and grow regional support networks.

In a shock announcement, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) reallocated the grant to Eagle Labs, a tech incubator run by Barclays Bank.

In the last decade, Tech Nation has helped shape the trajectory and success of UK tech to be the number one digital economy in Europe and third globally, valued at $1 trillion. The UK is also home to over 20 places that host at least one tech unicorn.

While 80% of startups fail within the first two to five years, over 95% of startups on Tech Nation’s accelerator programs have gone on to scale

Alumni companies include Deliveroo, Monzo, and Revolut.

Keeping the UK’s tech sector global

Perhaps most importantly, FFG will continue to process the Global Talent Visa for the Home Office.

Although this is a temporary measure while a new endorsing body is found, it shows global tech talent is still welcome in the UK.

The Global Talent Visa has been a key ingredient in diversifying representation in the UK tech sector.

Professionals from over 100 nationalities have been given the visa and have built their careers in the UK. As a result, 15% of tech scaleups have at least 1 immigrant founder.

There are currently over 2,500 Global Talent Visa holders working in over 900 UK tech businesses.

What’s next?

With a difficult economic landscape and significant reductions in access to R&D tax credits, the acquisition could help the sector’s ability to access support.

Gerard Grech, Founding CEO and Tech Nation Advisory Board member, concludes, “I am confident FF Group will continue the vital work of Tech Nation, leveraging its influential network to evolve Tech Nation’s existing programmes, foster entrepreneurship nationwide and supercharge scaleups and high-growth businesses across the UK.”

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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