Start-up network Tech Nation is shutting down after losing UK funding

1 Feb 2023

Image: © Iakov Kalinin/

The not-for-profit said it has supported more than 5,000 companies since it was founded and is looking for an interested party to acquire its assets.

After more than a decade supporting start-ups in the UK and Northern Ireland, Tech Nation is planning to cease operations at the end of March 2023.

The organisation said its core grant funding from the UK government has been awarded to a programme run by Barclays Bank. Tech Nation said its activities are “not viable on a standalone basis”.

The not-for-profit said it will cease all operations through a “carefully planned wind-down” up to 31 March, when its current grant contract concludes.  The organisation said its visa programme will continue “in the immediate term”.

Tech Nation said it is in a “redundancy consultation process” and is looking for interested parties to acquire its portfolio of assets. The deadline for people to express their interest in these assets is 14 February.

Since being founded, Tech Nation said it has supported more than 5,000 companies to help them scale up. The organisation also created 48 growth programmes to help accelerate more than 1,200 start-ups.

The not-for-profit has organised various events to help the UK and Northern Irish start-up ecosystem, such as networking conferences, international expansion programmes and its Rising Stars competition.

In a statement on its closure plans, Tech Nation said it ends with “pride in everything it has accomplished”. The organisation said it has delivered one of the best returns on investment for the UK taxpayer, by delivering “£15 return on every £1 funded by the UK government”.

“Tech Nation has made a huge and positive impact on the UK’s digital economy,” founding CEO Gerard Grech said. “The UK now boasts over 20 places with one tech unicorn or more, five times what it was in 2014.

“Many of Britain’s most successful tech companies, from Monzo to Deliveroo, and from Skyscanner to Darktrace, have passed through one or more of Tech Nation’s growth programmes.

“I want to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the Tech Nation team, to our ecosystem partners and all the inspirational innovators and entrepreneurs we have worked with along the way,” Grech said.

The organisation said macroeconomic trends threaten the UK’s tech momentum “for the first time in decades”. It suggested the UK government works to  “set a clear vision with coherent plans” for the next decade of tech sector growth.

Responding to the announcement, general partner at OpenOcean VC Ekaterina Almasque said, “This is a difficult day for the UK tech industry.”

“If the UK government wishes to turn the UK into a new Silicon Valley, the industry needs grassroots support,” Almasque explained.

“Simply branding plans with ‘Silicon’ is not sufficient. We must ensure that we put in place the correct processes to bring talented founders with innovative software ideas all the way from ideas on a whiteboard to stock listings in Piccadilly Square.”

Updated, 10.08am, 1 February 2023: This article has been updated to include Ekaterina Almasque’s comments.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic