The UK Government’s Future Fund, albeit through an intermediary the British Business Bank, is investing in a strange array of firms.
In August, The Future Shapers highlighted the case of Killing Kittens, a sex orgy platform , as one of potentially hundreds of applications where the recipients value proposition is of very tenuous benefit to the UK and in some cases is directly counter to current and future government policy.
A good example of this is the case of Nebeus, a London and Barcelona-based FinTech startup, that raised €955K through Seedrs along with support from the “Future Fund ” of the British government. Nebeus’ platform allows users to buy, sell and exchange crypto. It offers crypto asset-collateralised loans, with proprietary and integrated margin calls, health monitors, and volatility alerts. The company also offers financial services such as international cash transfers, withdrawals and deposits at physical locations, and mobile phone top-ups. This investment raises questions at a time when the Bank of England is urging caution on the cryptocurrencies and seeking insight on new forms of digital money.
Changing sector and considering government policies for climate change, there is the case of Flypop, a new Indian low cost airline that still needs to fly its first plane, who received in their words “a significant investment from the UK Government’s Future Fund”. What makes this case particularly odd in the context of a conflict with the UK government’s climate change agenda is that, the cabinet minister who heads November’s U.N. climate talks also oversaw the government loan for a new budget airline without conducting an environmental impact assessment.
The real winners were the crowdfunding platforms however, as some winners, less than 9 months later are fundraising again, this time down the crowdfunding route. Did the government funds go into generating real tangible advances in products and service with these future disruptors or were the funds just an alternative to investors funds that were burned through to keep the lights on?
Before publishing this investigative piece, the Future Shapers circulated it to the British Business Bank. Up to the date of publication, no comments were received.
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