October 11, 2013 - Rachel Miller
Episode 1 is a £37.5 million government scheme to support fund managers who invest in small, high growth businesses. The fund has attracted £12.5 million of private investment, alongside £25 million from the government.
Through Episode 1, investments of between £250,000 and £2 million will be made into 20 to 30 early-stage technology companies.
The fund is to be headed up by Dr Simon Murdoch – who has successfully invested in some of the UK's most successful companies, including LoveFilm, Zoopla and Shazam.
Dr Murdoch said: "I know from personal experience, it is hard to start and grow a business, even without the added difficulties of the current economic climate. Raising venture funding is even harder. Our aim is to establish Episode 1 as the best place to come for early stage technology entrepreneurs looking for up to £2 million of funding."
Business secretary Vince Cable (pictured) said: "This new £37.5 million Enterprise Capital Fund will target a serious gap in the equity market for high growth small firms. We've raised the money for the fund from other entrepreneurs and successful business people, and this has been supplemented by the finance matching from the UK government, which enables us to invest and help more high growth UK businesses with global-market aspirations."
Episode 1 is one of 14 Enterprise Capital Funds, joint public-private government-backed schemes that have been established to address a market weakness in the provision of equity finance to innovative SMEs. Since 2006, £197 million has been invested in over 160 companies.
These funds are to be brought together under the Business Bank initiative. A further £1 billion of new capital will be deployed by the Business Bank in partnership with the private sector to increase the amount of finance available and the choice of finance providers to businesses.
Image: Duncan Phillips/CASS & bisgovuk on Flickr