Tech Nation will cease operations and seek to transfer its assets following termination of its core government grant funding from the end of March.

The UK government recently handed the £12.1 million Digital Growth Grant contract – designed to help small and scaling tech businesses across the UK – to Barclays Eagle Labs.

More than 95% of startups featuring on Tech Nation’s accelerator programmes have gone on to scale, with more than a third of all tech unicorns and decacorns created in the UK having graduated from one of these – collectively raising over £28 billion in venture capital and capital markets. 

Monzo, Revolut, Depop, Bloom & Wild, Zilch, Just Eat, Darktrace, Marshmallow, Ocado, Skyscanner, Peak AI and Deliveroo are among the more than 5,000 businesses it has supported.

Tech Nation, which has commenced a redundancy consultation process for all permanent employees, is actively seeking interested parties to acquire its portfolio of assets to take forward in a new guise. For staff whose primary role is DCMS delivery work, it has initiated TUPE discussions with Barclays Bank and informed DCMS of this.

Rhys Merrett, senior account director The PHA Group, said “Tech Nation’s collapse comes at a time when the UK’s future as a tech hub is under significant scrutiny”.

He added: “The industry body was created at a time when the UK’s tech scene was thriving, led by an exciting collective of scaling tech startups. Now, it seems political uncertainty, market volatility and fears of a recession have symbolically brought to an end an industry body that once symbolised the burgeoning potential of the country’s tech scene.

“Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has voiced clear intentions about making the UK the next Silicon Valley, and this vision is backed by the Prime Minister. While there is clear entrepreneurial potential and a new generation of companies in new industries like Web3 stepping into the limelight, the onus is on the government to make sure the conditions are in place for the UK to remain an attractive tech hub.

“Part of Tech Nation’s success was taking a regional approach that looked for talent and opportunities outside of London – this is integral to the UK’s future as a tech hub and something that needs to be emphasised as part of future government initiatives.”

Eileen Burbidge MBE (pictured), HM Treasury special FinTech envoy and co-founder of Passion Capital, was Tech Nation chair for almost five years.

“It was a privilege,” she reflected. “During my tenure and since, Tech Nation has grown to become a truly impactful, UK-wide network, impactfully and impartially supporting scaleups across the breadth of the country.

“Tech Nation has played a vital role in the success of thousands of UK tech businesses, and has achieved real economic impact and return on investment for the taxpayer.”

John Kiely, partner and head of immigration at Howard Kennedy, has advised many going through the Tech Nation Visa application process.

“This will come as a great concern to those considering applying for the Tech Nation Visa. The endorsement process requires three detailed reference letters from senior individuals, a personal statement and 10 supporting documents – so there will be people out there who have dedicated a lot of time and effort into preparing their application,” he said.

“The Home Office has been notified of Tech Nation’s plans to cease operations and Tech Nation has confirmed that their visa programme will continue in the immediate term. The immediate term is not defined, but it would be sensible for would-be applicants to submit their endorsement application as soon as possible.”

Brent Hoberman, co-founder & chairman of the Founders Forum Group, firstminute capital and Founders Factory, said its UK businesses have “long admired the work and dedication of the Tech Nation team”.

He added: “They successfully led a transition from the Tech City campaign to an impactful and broader Tech Nation suite of services and events for founders. They built trust and respect in the UK tech community for their commitment to scaling up the best UK founders and inspiring others to join the journey.”

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Martha Lane Fox CBE, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “As an entrepreneur and digital champion, I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact that Tech Nation has had in creating one of the most exciting and dynamic parts of our economy. The skills they’ve equipped entrepreneurs with and opportunities they’ve created have been second to none. They will be missed.”

Ron Kalifa, Author of the Kalifa Review of UK FinTech for HM Treasury and former CEO of Worldpay, said having Tech Nation lead the national connectivity chapter of the review was hugely impactful. “It brought together several different constituents, from founders to academics and from investors to ecosystem regional leaders. One of its recommendations led to the creation of the new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology, seed funded by HM Treasury.”

Joanna Shields, CEO at BenevolentAI, served as chair of Tech City UK before it became Tech Nation. “We at BenevolentAI have greatly valued our partnership in the years since. Whilst it is sad to see the end of this impactful chapter, I am proud of the great contribution Tech Nation has made in spreading digital growth and in supporting our vibrant community of scaleups in their journeys to build businesses which are shaping the trajectory and success of technological innovation across the UK.”

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Russ Shaw CBE, founder at Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates, said: “Tech Nation has played an integral role in developing the UK’s tech industry, helping it mature into one of the preeminent tech economies globally. Some of Britain’s most exciting and innovative companies have received vital help and support from Tech Nation, and it has been an important champion of diversity and inclusion. The UK tech ecosystem has today lost an important member of its community.”

Tom Adeyoola, co-founder of Capital Angel Network and Metail, reflected on Tech Nation’s Libra programme, established to help drive visibility and connections for black and multiracial founders. “Having had the honour of taking part in the judging for the Libra programme, it is clear that there is a healthy and competitive pipeline of black and multiracial founders that just need fair access to financial and social capital to succeed.

“I have also been an advisor and a judge for Tech Nation’s Net Zero programme, for fast-growth tech companies which help the UK reduce emissions. It is saddening and a real loss for the UK that Tech Nation and these important programmes will no longer be continuing.”

Janet Coyle CBE, MD business at London & Partners, said Tech Nation has played a key role in the scaleup ecosystem over the past decade. “From the early years as Tech City when the focus was on Shoreditch to the growth of a UK wide tech ecosystem, Tech Nation has helped to amplify the UK’s strengths in tech on a global stage.”

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Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO at FinTech Wales, expressed sadness at the news. “We have valued our partnership with Tech Nation, [founding CEO] Gerard [Grech] and his team over the years. Having supported the range of programmes offered we reflect on the lasting impact they have contributed to the UK tech sector by influencing change, and supporting and nurturing innovative startups and scaling organisations. Their independent impartial position has without doubt contributed to the UK being a global leader in FinTech.

“As a sector we must now support and retain the talent and assets this action will release.”

Stephen Ingledew OBE, chairman of FinTech Scotland, described its leadership as “impactful and valuable”.

Tessa Clarke, co-founder & CEO at Olio, said her scaleup has benefited enormously from its supportive network as an alumni of the Upscale, International and Net Zero X growth programmes. “They have each given us an incredible platform for growth and access to the information, tools and networks we’ve needed to supercharge our business. The launch of the Net Zero X accelerator last year for later stage climate tech companies with high-emissions reduction potential, is an example of how Tech Nation has been constantly evolving and innovating to support the tech sector and the UK economy in the most important and needed areas.

“I am deeply disappointed by the government’s decision to give the DCMS grant to a large corporate bank, particularly at a time when Tech Nation and the UK tech economy has such incredible momentum, but is facing into challenging macroeconomic headwinds.”

Eric van der Kleij, co-founder at, added: “On the one hand it’s good to see government leveraging the private sector to increase the resources available for tech startups and scaleups, and we hope that Barclays can help deliver that. But it’s going to be tough – and in my view would have been better to mandate that the winner of this funding actually preserved and extended the incredible Tech Nation work, while maintaining the crucial neutrality, inclusivity and international brand positioning of the UK tech sector.

“That will be challenging for a commercial organisation to replicate.”

Mikela Druckman, co-founder & CEO at Greyparrot AI, said Tech Nation provided connections to peers and experts “who had been through the scaling path… this was invaluable to accelerate the learning and increase the chances of success of so many startups. This is undoubtedly a big loss for the UK tech ecosystem”.

Simon Mellin, CEO at Modern Milkman, described the organisation as “a huge enabler as we have scaled”, adding: “It’s a real blow to the tech industry for this to no longer continue.”

Katy Wigdahl, CEO at Speechmatics, went through Upscale in 2019 then Future Fifty in 2022. “The journey from Upscale to Future Fifty is proof of Tech Nation’s effectiveness in action. Tech Nation’s growth programmes are of the highest accreditation, and have given the companies who take part unprecedented networks, connections, tools and insights they need to fuel their growth journey.

“Tech Nation has been an incredible platform for our business, and I want to thank the team for all their support and the important role they have played in our journey.”

Anthony Rose, founder and CEO at Seedlegals, described the Rising Stars and Upscale programmes as “well-organised and curated”. He added: “They connected us with other founders at similar stages of their growth, and we still stay in touch years later to discuss business challenges and opportunities.”

Daniel Korski, CEO of Public, said: “Tech Nation – and before it Tech City – has been so critical to building the UK’s rocketship of a digital economy, supporting fast-growing firms but also diverse founders and championing the digital economy across the country. It’s hard to imagine where we would be today had Tech Nation not existed.”

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