Region: South East
Programme: Future Fund
As a start-up that produces advanced materials for solar panels, being locked out of its laboratories because of the global coronavirus pandemic wasn’t part of the plan, and cast severe doubt over the company’s ability to reach its next technology milestone. With jobs potentially at risk, the business navigated these challenging issues with financial support via the Future Fund.
Read what it had to say in this Future Fund case study.
British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your company does?
Dr Monica Saavedra, chief technology officer and co-founder of Lambda Energy: Lambda Energy is a Cambridge-based advanced materials start-up, founded to increase the efficiency of solar panel technologies. Our company is developing a coating that can be applied to new and installed solar panels to make them more efficient overall.
The coronavirus has affected a huge number of businesses across the UK. What problems were you facing as a result of the outbreak and what made you apply to the Future Fund?
We were making great technological progress regarding our coating. But when COVID-19 hit, we were locked out of our laboratories and unable to further our technology as a result.
How long did the application process take? Did you need any support?
The process was very rapid and straightforward. Apart from the necessary legal advice, we needed no support, and the process was simple even for laypeople such as ourselves.
Without financial support through the Future Fund, our company could have failed to deliver its next technology milestone, which would have put at risk the jobs of six of our employees.
Dr Monica Saavedra, chief technology officer and co-founder of Lambda Energy
What advice would you give to other businesses that are applying to the Future Fund?
Secure approval from your shareholders and board before you apply to the Future Fund. This is because the process requires quick approval once your application has been accepted, and getting that approval can be difficult if you have a number of different shareholders.
How has the Future Fund helped your organisation to weather the outbreak? And what might have happened if you hadn’t received the money?
The Future Fund investment has enabled us to develop our solar technology – technology that has great potential to increase clean solar energy – while at the same time helping us to secure jobs in science and engineering.