The National Security Strategic Investment Fund

National Security Strategic Investment Fund logo

The National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF) supports long-term equity – ‘patient capital’ – investment in advanced technologies which contribute to the UK Government’s national security mission.

The NSSIF programme builds on the objectives of the existing Enterprise Capital Fund (ECF) and British Patient Capital (BPC) programmes delivered by British Business Bank, with three additional NSSIF programme-specific objectives:

• Support private sector led investment into the UK’s world class security technology sector, by increasing the amount of private early stage venture and growth capital available to innovative, high-potential UK companies in this sector

• Attract venture and growth capital into investment strategies which will support HM Government’s national security mission by investing in dual-use technologies

• Facilitate the faster adaptation and adoption of private sector commercial security technologies by HM Government

• NSSIF is a joint programme between British Business Bank and HM Government

At Budget 2020, the Government increased the funding for NSSIF from £85m to £135m and extended its approach so it can invest directly in advanced technology firms. The government has created a new company, British Technology Investments Ltd, to hold these direct equity investments.

How can I apply to manage an NSSIF programme investment? 

Applications to manage an NSSIF Programme investment will be assessed under two separate areas:

  1. Eligibility for funding – applicants must be eligible under either the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme or the British Patient Capital programme 
  2. National Security Interface Centre (NSIC) accreditation – this will include evidencing or undergoing security vetting acceptable to UK authorities and demonstrating significant technical credentials in areas identified by HM Government as technology priorities

As well as fulfilling requirements in these areas, it is expected that applicants selected under the NSSIF programme will follow an investment strategy that contains a significant element focused on HM Government’s National Security Strategic Technology Areas of Interest, in particular investing in dual-use advanced technologies.

The NSSIF guidance document should be read in conjunction with the British Business Bank’s ECF Guidance Document or the BPC Request for Proposals, as applicable.

It is expected that applicants selected under the NSSIF Programme will follow an investment strategy that contains a significant element focused on HM Government’s National Security Strategic Technology Areas of Interest.

Prospective applicants are invited to make initial contact with the British Business Bank at nssif@british-business-bank.co.uk.

HM Government’s National Security Strategic Technology (NSST) Areas of Interest

The NSSIF programme offers an innovative opportunity for selected fund managers with the requisite expertise, as well as potential opportunities for their portfolio companies. Applicants selected under the NSSIF programme will be accredited as “NSSIF Fund Managers”.

In addition to benefiting from an investment from the British Business Bank’s ECF programme, or BPC, NSSIF Fund Managers may benefit from a trusted two way dialogue with the NSSIF programme, including HM Government’s National Security Interface Centre (NSIC) on technology challenges and market investment opportunities in HM Government’s National Security Strategic Technology Areas of Interest.

HM Government’s Areas of Interest and the NSSIF Fund Managers’ investment strategy will provide a basis for the subject matter of engagement. It is expected that this technical dialogue will support NSSIF Fund Managers in targeting their investments in dual-use advanced technologies that will help to meet the NSSIF programme’s objectives.

AREAS OF INTEREST

1. Audio and Visual Processing – Technologies to enable the capture, recording and analysis of audio and visual data.

2. Commercial Space, Platforms and Robotics – Low cost of deployment technologies for transporting sensor payloads into challenging environments.

3. Computational Behavioural Analysis – Technologies to enable the automated inference of human behaviours at scale.

4. Cyber Security – Technologies to enhance and defend.

5. Data Analytics and A.I. – Technologies and tools for interactive data transformation and exploitation and to enable analysts to work more efficiently.

6. Financial Technologies  – Technologies which enable the tracking of financial information.

7. Identity Technologies – Technologies that highlight or obscure identifying information about individuals and groups.

8. IOT and the Evolving Environment – Technologies that help understand the local environment or deliver a step change in infrastructure.

9. Novel Data Transport – Technologies to move data securely and without detection between geographical locations.

10. Sensors, novel materials and power sources – Technologies and novel manufacture to enable operations.

11. Quantum Technologies – Novel technologies and techniques, viable in commercially exploitable timescales.

12. Biological and Medical Technologies – Technologies and techniques with national security implications, including to detect, manage and mitigate biosecurity risks.