Applications are now open for Tech Nation’s growth and sector programmes

Tech Nation, May 5, 2021 7 min read

We are delighted to announce that we have officially opened applications for our growth and sector programmes. Since 2014, Tech Nation has supported 845 UK tech companies, and our alumni companies have created 11,000 jobs within the UK economy. We are currently looking for 160 companies to join our next 6 growth programmes: Upscale 7.0, Future Fifty 10.0, Net Zero 2.0, Applied AI 3.0, Fintech 4.0 and new programme Libra 1.0. 

We are excited to announce the launch of the new programme Libra. Libra is an initiative to tackle the lack of racial diversity within the UK tech sector, with the inaugural 1.0 iteration focussing on supporting Black founders and their companies at a crucial stage of their scaling journey. With future iterations aiming to support further founders from underrepresented groups, the Libra programme aims to ultimately strengthen the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business – for everyone. Read more about the Libra 1.0 programme.

“We are so excited to open applications for our growth and sector programmes, as well as introducing our new programme Libra. Having supported 845 companies since 2014, the Tech Nation network is world-class and the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning is invaluable. There has never been a better time to explore which of our growth programmes would suit your tech company and help it to thrive” Parveen Danda, Head of Programmes at Tech Nation

Tech Nation’s Impact

Since 2014, Tech Nation has supported 845 UK tech companies, who have in turn created a total of 11,000 jobs within the UK economy. Our alumni companies have raised a total £20 billion and currently employ 100,000 people. Out of the alumni companies, 20 of them have become unicorns as of February 2021, and 9 of our alumni companies have IPO’d.

We focus our programmes on the entirety of the UK, and last year 63% of the companies we supported were from outside of London.

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Click on the programme icons for more information and to find the right programme for you.

  • Applied AI

    Applied AI logo

    Applied AI is Tech Nation’s growth programme for Artificial Intelligence. It’s designed to help the UK’s most promising founders who are applying AI in practical areas and creating real-world impact. The programme is based on peer-to-peer support and the shared experience of founders.

    Applicants must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible:

    - Have headquarters in the UK
    - Have Artificial Intelligence at the core of your value proposition and your key product, not an excess feature
    - Seed to Series A* (or no more than £1.5m annual recurring revenue)
    - Take into account ethical considerations

    *No agencies or consultancies

    https://technation.io/applied-ai/

  • Fintech

    Fintech logo

    Our Fintech programme is tailor-made to support founders and the wider leadership team for UK fintechs and insurtechs. The programme consists of insights sessions delivered by some of the most established fintech and insurtech entrepreneurs, investors and partners.

    Applicants must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible:

    - Have headquarters in the UK
    - Be a digital tech with fintech or insurtech product or service to sell
    - The company is at Seed to Series A funding stage
    - If the company is self-funded, minimum annual revenue is £100k and maximum £1.5m
    - Open to all B2B, B2C and B2B2C companies
    - Company is more than 1 year old
    - Has the ambition to scale

    *No agencies or consultancies

    https://technation.io/fintech/

  • Future Fifty

    Future Fifty logo

    The Future Fifty programme is designed to support founders and their leadership teams to address challenges unique to the most successful tech companies in the country. At this point in the game, the stakes are sky-high. The programme offers tailor-made guidance, which can be the key to unlocking answers when problem-solving at this level.

    Applicants must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible:

    - Have headquarters in the UK
    - Series B+ funding stage
    - Or if revenue-focused, generating annual revenues over £5m
    - Achieving 50% year-on-year growth

    *No agencies or consultancies

    https://technation.io/future-fifty/

  • Libra

    Libra logo

    Libra is a brand new programme designed to support underrepresented tech leaders in the UK. The first edition of the programme will focus on the Black founder experience in tech, helping them navigate the scaling journey, to realise their ambitions of success in the sector. Our aim is to provide value through themed insights sessions, delivered by some of the most established entrepreneurs, covering topics such as raising series A, selling into corporates, scaling your operations and expanding internationally.

    Applicants must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible:

    - The company must have at least one founder that self-identifies as Black or multiracial with Black heritage This member must have a majority/equal equity stake in the business.
    - Incorporated within the last 1 - 5 years
    - Have a UK headquarters
    - You are a digital tech business with a product or service
    - Your company will be at the Seed to pre-Series A funding stage.
    - If bootstrapped, your max annual revenue is below £1.5m
    - You are able to demonstrate market traction
    - You have at least one active client or pilot
    - You are able to commit to the programme
    - You have the ambition to scale

    *No agencies or consultancies

    https://technation.io/programmes/libra/

  • Net Zero

    Net Zero logo

    Our Net Zero programme is looking for early-stage scaleups which operate across key sectors, including electricity & energy, transport & mobility, agriculture, food systems, manufacturing and building technology. Companies may directly contribute to net zero, with emission-reducing and carbon capture technologies or may contribute indirectly by changing consumer behaviour, or increasing efficiencies.

    Applicants must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible:

    - Have headquarters in the UK
    - Investment up to Seed or Series A stage
    - A tech business with a product or service which contributes to emissions reduction
    - This includes digital, hardware and life-sciences companies
    - The company’s technology must contribute to emissions reduction directly or through a supportive technology to support their industry in reaching net zero by 2050.
    - The potential to capture a large market
    - Have intelligent technologies or other USPs which can set the start-ups apart from the competition
    - Demonstrate potential for scale over time

    *No agencies or consultancies

    https://technation.io/net-zero/

  • Upscale

    Upscale logo

    The Upscale programme helps the UK’s most promising tech companies to accelerate their growth and unlock the key to scaling successfully. Sessions and activities are based on values of honesty, intimacy and trust. Now in its 7th year, this curated programme has been designed to reflect your scaling journey.

    Applicants must fulfil all the following criteria to be eligible:

    - Have headquarters in the UK
    - Be VC backed having raised Series A round (£3m Regional, £5m London)
    - Or, if revenue focussed generating between £1.5m - £5m
    - Growing at a rate of approx. 10% month-on-month*
    (*this can be revenue, headcount, users or any other primary growth metric)

    *No agencies or consultancies

    https://technation.io/upscale/

Libra 1.0

Libra is an initiative to tackle the lack of diversity within the UK tech sector, with the inaugural 1.0 iteration focussing on supporting Black founders and their companies at a crucial stage of their scaling journey. With future iterations aiming to support further founders from underrepresented groups, the Libra programme aims to ultimately strengthen the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business – for everyone. 

“I’m so excited to be leading the new Libra Growth Programme at Tech Nation. We have seen numerous reports highlighting the racial inequalities for underrepresented founders scaling, particular to Black founders. This year, the Libra Growth Programme will push the needle and open access to capital, network, and commercial to early-stage Black founders.” Abi Mohamed, Libra Programme Lead, Tech Nation

With applications opening today (5th May 2021), we are looking for up to 30 founders who self-identify as Black or multiracial with Black heritage. The programme will run for 6 months, and consist of sessions and resources designed specifically to accelerate the development of high potential Black-founded tech companies at a pivotal stage of their growth. 

The criteria for the Libra 1.0 programme are as follows:

  • At least one member of the founding team who self identifies as Black or multiracial with Black heritage. The person must be on the founding team, not the management team and they must have a majority or equal equity stake in the business.
  • Digital tech business with a product or service
  • Incorporated within the last 1- 5 years 
  • Headquartered in the UK
  • Pre-seed or seed stage (for example received external capital ranging 250K til 1.5M). If bootstrapped, max AR below £1.5million
  • Be able to demonstrate market traction
  • At least one active client or pilot
  • Ambition to scale
  • Able to commit to the programme
  • The programme is not open to consultancies or agencies

As with all our growth programmes, Libra 1.0 is free to join and we do not take an equity stake in your company. 

Applications close on 30th June 2021. 

Net Zero 2.0

 

Launched last year, the Net Zero programme is a government-backed initiative; the first of its kind to support tech that is building a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future, and contributing towards the UK’s net zero goals. COVID-19 has really highlighted the role played by technology to aid a green recovery in both the short and long term. The programme is supported by leading experts, investors and founders. 

“The UK’s Climate Tech sector has truly taken off. 2020 was a record year for investment into the sector, demonstrated by the impressive growth rates of the scale-ups on Tech Nation’s inaugural Net Zero Programme. With COP26 being hosted in the UK this year, there will be a key focus on British Sustainable Innovation. In this critical year, we are looking forward to supporting the next cohort of disruptive, game-changing companies driving the UK and the world to achieve net zero emissions.” Sammy Fry, Net Zero Lead, Tech Nation

We are looking for digital, hardware or Life Sciences companies which operate across key sectors including electricity & energy, transport & mobility, agriculture and food systems, manufacturing and building technology – climate tech companies which have the potential to accelerate the UK’s goal to drive down global emissions.

The criteria for Net Zero 2.0 are as follows:

  • Grant funding or investment up to Series A funding stage OR revenue focused and generating £1.5m or less annually
  • A digital tech business with a product or service to sell which contributes to emissions reduction. This includes digital, hardware and life-sciences companies.
  • Evidence that the product or service is beyond the minimum viable product phase
  • Proven evidence of some market traction
  • HQ’d in UK

Net Zero is free, and we don’t take an equity stake in any businesses that join. Applications close on 30th June 2021.

Applied AI 3.0

We are excited to open applications for the third Applied AI growth programme. The programme is part of the UK Government AI and Data Sector Deal and gives some of the UK’s most exciting tech companies access to a valuable peer network and exposure to later-stage founders with first-hand experience of key scaling challenges. 

“We are delighted to announce that we are looking for another cohort of companies with Artificial Intelligence at the core of their products. Throughout our last two programmes, we have seen our UK based AI companies go from strength to strength, growing to solve challenges, improve lives and deliver real-world impact. Supporting scalable, homegrown and globally competitive AI companies in the UK is at the heart of what we do and is key to ensuring that the UK’s economy remains competitive internationally for decades to come.” Ria Khan, Applied AI Programme Manager, Tech Nation

The criteria for Applied AI 3.0 is as follows:

  • Headquartered in the UK
  • Have Artificial Intelligence at the core of your value proposition and your key product, not as an excess feature
  • Seed to Series A* (or no more than £1.5m annual recurring revenue)
  • Take into account ethical considerations

As with all our growth programmes, Applied AI 3.0 is free to join and we do not take an equity stake in your company. Applications close on 30th June 2021.

Fintech 4.0

The Fintech growth programme was Tech Nation’s first sector-specific growth programme and each iteration so far have been immensely successful. Last year, the Fintech programme expanded to include insurtechs; an exciting addition to what is already one of the UK’s most exciting sectors. 

“Despite the challenging last year, the increasing acceleration of digital adoption has been pushing UK Fintech forward. For the past three programmes – supported by Her Majesty’s Treasury – we have seen tremendous success and growth for the companies who took part. We are excited to continue supporting the UK’s leading scaling Fintech companies on the next programme to retain UK’s position as a leading Fintech hub.” Katja Palovaara, Fintech Programme Manager, Tech Nation

The criteria for Fintech 4.0 is as follows:

  • Headquartered in the UK
  • Company is digital tech with fintech or insurtech product or service to sell 
  • The company is at Seed to Series A funding stage. 
  • If the company is self-funded, minimum annual revenue £100k and maximum £1.5m
  • Open to all B2B, B2C and B2B2C companies
  • Company is more than 1 year old
  • Has an ambition to scale

Fintech 4.0 is free to join and we do not take an equity stake in your company. Applications close on 30th June 2021.

Upscale 7.0

Upscale is our growth programme for mid-stage tech companies, helping the UK’s fastest growing companies scale faster, together. Selecting the UK’s most promising tech companies, Upscale helps them accelerate their growth and unlock key scaling challenges. Upscale has a seriously impressive list of scale coaches and experts, and is meticulously designed to reflect tech companies’ scaling journey.

“From life-saving vaccine booking systems to radically improved intranets for frontline workers, it’s been amazing to continue to work with the UK’s most exciting and fastest growing companies over the past year. We are incredibly excited to launch our 7th Upscale Programme this year, to continue to represent the very best of UK tech, helping their founders and leadership teams as they overcome the biggest barriers on their scaling journey” Liam Ward, Upscale Programme Lead, Tech Nation

As well as learning from Upscale’s scale coaches and experts, the programme also offers invaluable opportunities to network with peers, alongside the prestige of becoming part of the Tech Nation Alumni.

The criteria for the Upscale 7.0 programme are as follows:

  • VC backed, having raised Series A round
  • OR revenue focused and generating £1.5m – £5m
  • Headquartered in the UK

Guidance: Upscale typically works with companies experiencing rapid growth approx 10% month-on-month. With COVID, we understand that some companies may have experienced variances over the last 6 months.

With that in mind, typical Upscale companies are:

  • Looking to significantly increase team size
  • Rapidly growing customer base or market share
  • Aspirational for substantial national or international growth

Upscale is free, and we don’t take an equity stake in any businesses that join. Applications close on 30th June 2021. 

Future Fifty 10.0

Future Fifty is the UK’s leading late-stage growth programme, designed to support founders and leadership teams to address the unique challenges faced by the most successful tech companies in the country. When tech companies reach late-stage, the stakes are high, and tailor made guidance from those who’ve been there and done it can be the key to unlocking vital answers.

“Future Fifty companies represent the best of the UK tech sector not only for achieving unprecedented revenue, fundraising, and growth rates but even more so for their contributions to the UK economy and tech ecosystem. The Future Fifty programme helps these leading companies further accelerate their growth through exclusive access to roundtables with exited founders, experts, and government, in addition to helping drive more international recognition and investment into UK businesses. As our Future Fifty companies demonstrate, the UK is and shall remain one of the best places in the world to scale globally important companies” Ana Lucia Buckman, Future Fifty Lead, Tech Nation

The Future Fifty programme delivers valuable peer-to-peer learning and facilitates an open dialogue between experienced entrepreneurs and founders. Participating companies attend in-depth masterclass sessions run by seasoned coaches, who can provide essential guidance.

The criteria for the Future Fifty 10.0 programme are as follows:

  • Series B+ funding stage OR If revenue focused, generating annual revenues over £5m
  • Achieving 50% year-on-year growth
  • HQ’d in UK

Future Fifty is free to join and we do not take an equity stake in your company. Applications close on 30th June 2021.

If you need any guidance or support on applying for our growth programmes, check out our application guide.

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