Save Our Startups: Crowdcube Launches New Initiative to Help Early Stage Firms, Publishes Open Letter to Prime Minister

Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang has announced a new initiative to help entrepreneurs and small companies during the COVID-19 crisis. Distributed in an email today, Crowdcube announced the launch of Save Our Startups (SOC).

Simultaneously, Crowdcube posted an open letter directed to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding support for the once vibrant startup ecosystem.

Today, there are over 30,000 startups and early-stage firms in the UK – employing approximately 330,000 people. The COVID-19 pandemic is putting these businesses at risk as well as the future of the UK economy.

Lang pointed to Europe and programs enacted by France and Germany that is providing €6 billion in funding. Lang said the UK must do the same.

In brief, Lang said the UK government must provide an equity-based liquidity package suitable to save startups at risk.

Additionally, the government must fast track payments to startups from public funding schemes – in particular, R&D tax credits and Innovate UK funding grants.

Simultaneously, Lang said the government must change EIS, SEIS, and VCTs to stimulate private equity investment into startups and high-growth businesses. The aforementioned programs mitigate the risk of backing early-stage firms and have widely been credited with boosting entrepreneurship and job creation.

The Open Letter to the PM noted that the CBILS (the package designed to support businesses impacted by the Coronavirus) covers a segment of UK businesses but the majority of startups and high-growth companies will be excluded and as a result, unsupported.

“Without support, thousands of startups will fold in the coming months. The Government should provide a fresh capital injection for startup and high growth businesses through an equity-based solution,” stated the letter.

The SOS campaign is being backed by well known British entrepreneurs including Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com, Alex Chesterman, Co-founder of Zoopla, LoveFilm and Cazoo; and Arnaud Massenet, Co-founder of Net-a-porter.

Over 20 industry bodies and organisations have also joined the campaign including; The Entrepreneurs Network, Draper Esprit, Virgin Startups, Innovate Finance, Runway East, UKBAA, EISA, Tech London Advocates, Capital Enterprise, Seedrs, and Coadec.

The Open Letter proclaims:

“The UK Government must act now to protect Britain’s entrepreneurial future so we do not lose a generation of startups and high growth businesses to COVID-19.”

The three main demands as outlined in the Letter:

  • The Government needs to provide an equity-based liquidity package suitable to save startups at risk. While the CBILS covers a proportion of UK businesses, the majority of startups and high-growth companies will be excluded and as a result, unsupported. Without support, thousands of startups will fold in the coming months. The Government should provide a fresh capital injection for startup and high growth businesses through an equity-based solution.
  • The Government must fast track payments to startups from public funding schemes – in particular R&D tax credits and Innovate UK funding grants. Private sector liquidity has taken a major hit during the crisis with angels and micro-funds unable to provide startups and high growth businesses with bridging money. It is within the Government’s power to provide these companies with immediate liquidity by expediting the release of these funds.
  • The Government must change EIS, SEIS and VCTs to stimulate private equity investment into startup and high growth businesses. Startups are in freefall as they have been left without any debt or equity support. They will need to be able to access more investment from existing investors through Government schemes. If companies and investors are going to recover from this time of great uncertainty, they need a much stronger incentive than currently exists.

The Top 100 signatories of the letter include:

Darren Westlake – Co-founder & CEO, Crowdcube
Luke Lang – Co-founder, Crowdcube
Brent Hoberman – Co-Founder & Chairman at Founders Factory; previously Co-founder, Lastminute.com
Alex Chesterman – Founder & CEO, Cazoo; previously Co-founder LoveFilm and Zoopla
Arnaud Massenet – Co-founder, Net-a-porter
Mike Fuller – Co-founder, ARM
Anthony Fletcher – CEO, Graze
Tania Boler – Founder, Elvie
Giles Andrews – Co-founder, Chairman, Zopa, MarketFinance, Bethnal Green Ventures
Adam Dodds – CEO, Freetrade
Jorge Armanet – CEO Founder, HealthUnlocked
Jamie Ward – CEO, Hussle
Samuel O’Connor – CEO, Coconut
Peter Kelly – CEO, Imployable
Lee Strafford – CEO, ADV
Kirsty Ranger – CEO, IdeaSquares
Gem Misa – CEO, Fullgreen
Doug Monro – Co-founder & CEO, Adzuna
Jeff Lynn – Co-founder & Executive Chairman, Seedrs
Saurav Chopra – Co-founder & CEO, Perkbox
Daniel Korski – Founder & CEO, PUBLIC
David Dunn – Chair, UK Tech Cluster Group
Philip Salter – Founder, The Entrepreneurs Network
Andrew Tibbitts, COO, TechHub Charlotte Crosswell – CEO, Innovate Finance
Robert Walsh – Managing Partner, Q Ventures
Jenny Tooth OBE – CEO, UKBAA
Jonathan Sibilia – Partner, Draper Esprit
Dom Hallas – Executive Director, The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec)
John Spindler – Co-founder & CEO, Capital Enterprise
Mark Brownridge – Director General, EIS Association
Natasha Guerra – Co-founder, Runway East
Andy Fishburn – Managing Director, Virgin Startup
Russ Shaw – Founder, Tech London Advocates
Alex Davies – Founder & Chief Executive, Wealth Club
Bruce Davies – Director, UK Crowdfunding Association
Andrew Roughan – Managing Director, Plexal
Jasper Smith – Founder, Vala Capital
Gaby Hersham – Founder, Huckletree
Carlos Silva – Co-founder, Seedrs
Yacob Siadatan- CEO, Ventoura Ltd
Nazim Valimahomed – CEO, Kroo
Katie Vanneck smith – Co-founder, Tortoise Media
Adrian James – CEO, Monily
Paul Naha-Biswas – CEO, Sixley
Oliver Oram – CEO, Chainvine
Rohit Shetty – Co-Founder & CEO, ArtBrowser
Richard Cooper – Chief Executive Officer, Novosound Ltd
Sam Lehane – CEO, M.Y.O
David Murray-Hundley – Chairman, E fundamentals
Russell Quirk – Co-Founder, PropergandaPR
Silas Adekunle – CEO, Reach Industries
Matthew Bradley – CEO, Mjp technologies ltd
Charlotte Roach – CEO, Rabble
Ankush Bhatia – CFO, Hussle
Matt Latham – Co-founder, Tickr ltd
Joseph Crabtree – CEO, Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT)
Robert Wakeling – CEO, Wadaro Solutions Limited
Joe Sillett – CEO, The Funky Appliance Company
Mike Bristow – CEO, CrowdProperty
Mulenga Agley – CEO, Growthcurve LTD
Kim Nilsson – CEO & Founder, Pivigo
Martin Kievit – Co-founder, Metasite OpenCloud limited
Sam Ducker – Co-founder, Calling Anyone
Neha Khurana – CEO, The Legists
Matt Brooke – CEO, Meet.mba Limited
Manoj Ganapathy – CEO, SalesTrip
Adam McVicar – Co-founder, The Resilience Factor
Bikesh Kumar – CEO, Annexon
Ricky Shankar – Chairman, Clear Factor Limited
Sarah Merrick – CEO, Ripple Energy
Dan Wakerley – CEO, Pillar
Demos Demetriou- Co-founder, blazon
Eoin Cooney – CEO, ARROE Limited
Mattt Milligan – Co-founder, Uhubs
Suchit Punnose – CEO, Red Ribbon Asset Management Plc
Laurence Guy – CEO, We Are Pentagon Group
Fred Soneya – Co-Founder & Partner, Haatch
Dana Denis-Smith – CEO, Obelisk support
Neil Harmsworth – Chief Operating Officer, Hussle
Nigel Winship – Co-founder, People Matter Technology
Cathy Norbury – Co-Founder, InterAxS Global
Shadi Razak – Co-founder and CTO, CyNation
Hassan Bashir – Co-founder, HealthSteer
Dr Yusuf Vali – Co-founder, Healthsteer
Farid Haque – Co-founder, AssetVault
Brad Goodall – CEO, Banked
Dan McGuire – CEO, cube19
Gaute Juliussen – CEO, Toraphene
Mark Musson – CEO, Humn.ai Ltd
James Gupta – CEO, Synap
Mat Megens – CEO, Hyperjar
Jason Bullock – CEO, Numerous Technology
Tim Gentles – CEO, Hatriq
Marcus Greenwood – CEO, UBIO
Gary Mc Donald – CEO, Limitless Insight
Ryan Gralia – CFO, Fidel Limited
Darrell Coker – Co-founder & Head of Product, Flair
Inga Mullins – Co-founder Fluency
Ian Smith – CEO, Being Guided
Kevin Beales – CEO, Refract
Damian Goryszewski – CEO, Colossus Capital Ltd
Mark Milton – CEO, Amberlight Partners
Randel Darby – CEO, Airportr

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