Programme: Future Fund
To a financial services company that uses machine learning to analyse business data, COVID-19 was a disruption, both to its business plans and the interest from potential investors. But with support via the Future Fund, Util was able to weather the storm and re-engage with clients and the financial services sector.
Read what the company had to say in this Future Fund case study.
British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your company does?
Patrick Wood Uribe, CEO of Util: We’re a financial technology company that uses machine learning to measure the degree to which every listed company affects the most critical social and environmental issues of our time. Using our analytics, investors can evaluate and build sustainable investment strategies.
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?
The COVID-19 outbreak had two ramifications for our business. First, our prospective clients’ priorities abruptly shifted away from our product towards more immediate crisis management. Second, potential investors with whom we had been in conversation began to limit capital expenditure and tighten their investment criteria in response to the uncertainty caused by the outbreak.
How long did the application process take? Did you need any support?
Three weeks passed between signing the term sheet with our lead investor and starting to prepare the application and receiving notification that our application had been conditionally approved. Our lead investor supported us in the application process.
Access to the Future Fund allowed us to weather the storm of the pandemic at a critical point in our company’s journey. We’re now in a position to re-engage with clients and bring our product to market, hopefully changing the finance industry for the better.
Patrick Wood Uribe, CEO of Util
What advice would you give to other businesses that are applying to the Future Fund?
Take adequate time, working with your lead investor, to read and understand the scheme FAQs and convertible loan agreement: both the negotiables and non-negotiables. Things move quickly towards the end of the process, and it’s important to be prepared!
Our overall experience was positive and, on balance, the process benefited from being highly standardised, which allowed us to complete it quickly. We only encountered a few communication issues, which is perhaps to be expected.
How has the Future Fund helped your organisation to weather the outbreak? And what might have happened if you hadn’t received the money?
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, we were preparing for launch and enjoying fruitful conversations with potential clients and investors. Had we not received access to the Future Fund, we would’ve been in a precarious position. The circumstances of the pandemic made a market launch commercially unviable at the time, but the Future Fund allowed our current investors to look beyond crisis management and invest for the long term.