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Form Ventures closes £30m Fund II to help game-changing startups navigate public policy

Form Ventures today announces final close of a £30m ($39m) Fund II at its target fund size.

Form invests in startups at pre seed and seed stage in sectors directly shaped by policy and regulation, and helps founders build game-changing businesses while managing the complexity that comes with being on government’s radar.

The fund has secured the support of the British Business Bank as the cornerstone investor as part of its Enterprise Capital Funds programme, which aims to increase the supply of equity capital to high-potential, early stage UK companies and lower barriers to entry for fund managers looking to operate in the VC market. Form Ventures Fund II becomes the 36th fund in the Enterprise Capital Fund portfolio, taking the programme’s total investment capacity to £1.66bn.

Patrick Newton, Partner, Form Ventures said: “Technology is now disrupting every corner of our lives, from our mental health to our childcare to the future of our planet. More than ever, policymakers want to have their say on how disruption happens – gone are the days when startups could just “move fast and break things”. Smart founders realise that if they take policymakers seriously, they can build faster, not slower, and gain a real competitive edge.”

Leo Ringer, Partner, Form Ventures said: “Startup founders have more options than ever when raising capital. The exam question for us when we started was: why should a great founder take our capital? Our answer is: because we can help them in a way that no other investor can. The evidence from our Fund I is that founders really get the value that focused investors like Form can bring to the table”.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director for Venture Solutions, British Business Bank said: “Our Enterprise Capital Funds programme has a track record of successfully backing fund managers like Form Ventures, where our cornerstone investment is helping to unlock further equity from other investors. Our commitment of £18m to Form Ventures will enable them to support new and growing UK businesses in complex sectors such as FinTech and HealthTech.”

Form is led by Leo Ringer and Patrick Newton and builds on a small Fund I launched in 2019. Ringer has spent more than a decade working at the intersection of public policymaking and business, including as an adviser to the British government. Newton previously led the corporate venture capital fund at Deloitte, investing in seed stage fintech and enterprise software startups.

Form will invest between £200k and £1m in pre seed and seed stage startups, typically delivering its focused support as a co-investor rather than leading rounds. This scales an approach successfully established in its Fund I, from which Form invested in nine startups alongside the likes of Index Ventures and Founders Fund.

Backing startups in childcare, mental health, carbon offsetting, cellular agriculture and more, they have built a reputation for making an impact with founders.

Ed Steele, co-founder of Hoxton Farms, said: “As soon as we met the Form team we realised how much value they could add, so we knew we wanted them on our cap table. Since then they have gone above and beyond in helping us understand the policy outlook for cultivated meat, and what that means for the business choices we are making right now.”

Ari Last, founder and CEO of Bubble, said: “Childcare is a sensitive and complex market in which government has a big say, so Form’s unique approach really stood out. They have been a game-changer for our understanding of, and engagement with, the policymakers who matter to Bubble.”

Form II is backed by leading institutional investors including cornerstone LP the British Business Bank, as well as Isomer Capital, Draper Esprit, and Blue Wire Capital.

ENDS

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support over £8.5bn[1] of finance to almost 95,000 smaller businesses[2]. Between March 2020 and March 2021, the British Business Bank was responsible for running the government’s Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering £80.4bn of finance to 1.67m businesses.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at www.british-business-bank.co.uk

The investment from the British Business Bank to Form Ventures does not amount to any endorsement or warranty from the British Business Bank, the British Business Bank plc, or the government of the UK.

Enterprise Capital Funds are administered by British Business Finance Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc.

[1] Figures as at 31 March 2021

[2] Figures as at 31 March 2021