The investor partnerships model is aimed at highly innovative micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who:
- are carrying out research and development projects
- also seek aligned equity funding to deliver their technology or research.
The model not only allows Innovate UK to directly fund companies who have a research and development project, but also encourages companies to seek equity investment so that they are not just funding their project, but also accessing capital from equity investment to grow their business.
Innovate UK is selecting a ‘pool’ of investor partners who demonstrate that they have the credibility, capability, capacity and appetite to invest in innovative, technology-led businesses in areas that align with our objectives in programme areas.
The investor partners will work with Innovate UK to consider innovative businesses that apply for grant funding alongside their investment. The investor partners include venture capital funds, corporate investors, business angel groups and social impact investors, coming from across the UK, Europe, and the US.
A new three-year programme is launching in 2022 with the scope focused on the Future Economy described in Innovate UK’s plan for action. This focuses on the following themes:
- net zero
- health and wellbeing
- next generation digital technologies
- technology families.
During the investor partnership programme, we will identify further areas of specific scope focus. These are likely to include:
- net zero:
- green finance
- critical circular materials
- resource efficiency for materials and manufacturing
- health and wellbeing:
- innovative solutions to health and healthcare challenges (Biomedical Catalyst)
- improved delivery of mental health and wellbeing services, through the application of immersive technologies
- novel low emission production systems, including vertical farming and alternative proteins
- next generation digital technologies:
- innovation in the creative industries (Creative Catalyst)
- adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies in targeted industries
- equality, diversity and inclusion:
- diverse founders of innovative businesses
- innovative products or services that support diverse groups
- diverse investors.
Since the pilot launched in 2017, Innovate UK has run investor partnership programmes in the following areas:
- health and life sciences
- precision medicine
- healthy ageing
- transforming food production
- transforming foundation industries
- audience of the future
- clean growth innovation fund
- quantum technologies.