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Updates from Team Bulb

Helping high-growth tech companies during coronavirus

An illustration of the Bulb team at work

Today, together with other high-growth businesses, we sent a letter to the Chancellor suggesting we set up a taskforce to find a way for these companies to access existing COVID-19 business support schemes.

We’re keen to ensure the Government helps to protect and invest in technology businesses of the future, like Bulb. As we say in the letter, we believe that the high-growth tech sector has a vital role to play in the future success of the UK economy and that the UK is the best place in the world to build a tech company.

You can read the letter below.

Confirmed Signatories

  • Ali Parsa, Babylon

  • Joanna Shields, BenevolentAI

  • Peter Smith,

  • Hayden Wood, Bulb

  • Azmat Yusuf, Citymapper

  • Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace

  • Will Shu, Deliveroo

  • Marc Warner, Faculty

  • Stan Boland, Five AI

  • Hiroki Takeuchi, GoCardless

  • Nigel Toon, Graphcore

  • Herman Narula, Improbable

Dear Chancellor,

We greatly appreciate the significant steps that you have taken to help British businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. But as founders and CEOs of leading UK companies we are concerned that unless urgent changes are made to the current schemes then the high-growth UK tech sector will be put at risk. As innovative companies we build technology and systems that transform sectors. For customers, we drive costs down, standards up and for society we create whole new categories of products and services. We are vital to productivity, clean growth and UK exports. But unfortunately, the COVID-19 lending schemes you have put in place benefit established firms and do not help companies of the future such as ours.

The businesses we run serve millions of customers across the UK, and overseas. We are stepping up to help the country at this difficult time by helping tens of thousands of small businesses to continue operating, helping vulnerable customers get essential services and using innovative technology to give the NHS better tools to tackle the pandemic. The high-growth tech sector has introduced innovative new products that have improved the lives of millions of customers in the UK and many more around the world. We have created huge numbers of high skilled jobs and we export across the globe.

Our sector will be crucial to helping the UK economy bounce back quickly after the pandemic. The UK tech community is a world class engine for innovation and growth, however, it has not yet received Government support, unlike our competitors in France and Germany.

Our companies have all invested in technology and growth rather than short term profitability, which means that we are currently unable to access the schemes which have been designed with longer-established businesses in mind. The current schemes that you have put in place - the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) - are not accessible to our businesses.

We are therefore writing to ask you to urgently set up a taskforce meeting of leading tech businesses to work with you and your officials to find a way for high-growth tech companies to be able to access the lending schemes you have already established or new schemes if necessary.

As you said in your Budget speech earlier this year, to help Britain’s businesses lead the next generation of high productivity industries, we need to invest in the technologies of the future. The high-growth tech sector has a vital role to play in the future success of the UK economy, and we urge you to work with us to ensure that it is helped through the crisis and that the UK is still the best place in the world to build a tech company.