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Future Fund: Breakthrough Now Open for Investor Applications

Press release 20 July 2021

  • UK-wide programme will deliver £375m of government funding

  • Targets innovative R&D intensive companies developing cutting edge technologies
  • Delivered by British Patient Capital, a commercial subsidiary of British Business Bank
  • Operates on a commercial basis with private sector investors to co-invest with British Patient Capital

Future Fund: Breakthrough, announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at Budget 2021, opens today for applications. This UK-wide programme will deliver £375m of government funding via British Patient Capital, a commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank.

Due to high research and development costs, breakthrough technology companies typically require more capital than other companies, to fuel the later stages of their growth. Because of their ability to grow rapidly and have a significant economic impact, the growth of these innovative companies is critical to the UK’s future prosperity and economic recovery.

Through the Future Fund: Breakthrough programme, British Patient Capital will make equity co-investments with private sector investors in later stage R&D-intensive UK companies operating in breakthrough technology sectors, such as quantum computing, cleantech, and life sciences. British Patient Capital will construct a portfolio of growth-stage breakthrough technology companies over time.

Future Fund: Breakthrough is focused on an area of the market with a high need for additional patient capital. In order to be eligible for the scheme, companies must, inter alia, be raising a minimum total investment round size of £30m, and the maximum Future Fund: Breakthrough will contribute to an investment round is 30%. This means the minimum amount of private sector funding is £21m. The company must also have raised at least £5m of equity investment from third-party investors in previous funding rounds. As a fully commercial scheme, Future Fund: Breakthrough will invest on the same terms as private sector investors.

The scheme is separate and different to the now closed Future Fund that provided convertible loans of up to £5m to a wide variety of innovative UK companies, to address the funding challenges caused by Covid-19.

With many world-class universities and a strong track record in science and research, the UK is fertile ground for creating high-growth companies based on cutting edge technologies. Through the commercialisation of R&D, these transformative companies will help accelerate the deployment of innovative breakthrough technologies that can transform major industries; develop new medicines; support the transition to a net zero economy and strengthen the UK’s position as a science superpower. Judith Hartley CEO, British Patient Capital

Future Fund: Breakthrough will enable these R&D intensive companies to raise the patient capital they need to fuel the later stages of their growth, and in doing so, help ensure the UK is a world leader in the industries of the future.”

How does Future Fund: Breakthrough work?

Future Fund: Breakthrough is an investor led programme, which means funding applications can only be made by a qualifying lead investor and cannot be made by companies themselves. In order to start the application, the investor must complete an on-line application form, which will provide an initial assessment of their eligibility to act as a lead investor. The process thereafter is as follows:

  1. Assessment of lead investor eligibility by British Patient Capital
  2. British Patient Capital is introduced to potential investee company by lead investor
  3. Assessment of company and transaction eligibility by British Patient Capital
  4. Evaluation of investment opportunity by British Patient Capital
  5. Decision by British Patient Capital’s Investment Committee

Key Programme Features

  • Focused on R&D intensive companies
  • Minimum total investment round size of £30m
  • Potential investee companies must have raised at least £5m in previous funding rounds
  • Potential investee companies must be UK based, with significant UK operations
  • The application must be made by a lead investor

Information about Future Fund: Breakthrough, including full eligibility criteria for lead investors and companies is available at

Notes to editors

Company Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the scheme, a company must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • The company receiving investment should be UK based (UK incorporated) with significant UK operations (meaning at least half of the companys overall employment base and half of its research employees are based in the UK).
  • The company must be carrying out R&D activity in the UK by meeting all three of the following criteria:
    • R&D spending (as defined by pre-set accounting rules) must have been at least 10% of total operational cost base on average over the last 3 years or at least 15% in one of the past 3 years.
    • Company is developing defensible intellectual property in the UK which they expect to be the company’s main revenue source.
    • Company intends that 20% or more employees will be carrying out research for at least 3 years from the date of investment, in roles that require a relevant master’s degree or higher.
  • The company must have raised at least £5m of equity investment from third-party investors in previous funding rounds in the last five years prior to Future Fund: Breakthrough investment.
  • The company must be raising a minimum investment round size of £30m.

Lead Investor Criteria

The lead investor is the investor applying to Future Fund: Breakthrough and can be a new or existing investor. The lead investor does not have to be the largest investor in the round but is expected to contribute a significant amount to the investment round and meet the lead investor criteria. Companies raising an investment round with the support of Future Fund: Breakthrough will require a lead investor to meet one of the three criteria below. The lead investor can be:

  • Any fund managed or advised by an FCA (or equivalent) authorised firm with private sector investment making up greater than 50% of the total fund size and who is currently managing an active fund greater than £100m. The fund must have raised capital from at least three independent LPs (or equivalent) and have a written investment strategy that aligns with the investment strategy of Future Fund: Breakthrough.
  • Any fund or investment vehicle with an appropriate investment strategy, managed or advised by a fund manager which has applied to and obtained an investment from a member of the British Business Bank group. For example, those supported by British Patient Capital and by the British Busines Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme.
  • Other investment vehicles with a minimum of £100m of investment capital, a broad range of independent investors (at least 3), a demonstrable track record and an appropriate investment strategy where these have been approved by Future Fund: Breakthrough

About British Patient Capital

British Patient Capital is the trading name of British Patient Capital Limited, a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of British Business Bank plc, the UK government’s economic development bank. It forms part of the British Business Bank’s commercial arm.

Its mission is to enable long-term investment in innovative firms led by ambitious entrepreneurs who want to build large scale businesses. Launched in June 2018, British Patient Capital has £2.5bn to invest over 10 years in venture and venture growth capital to support high growth potential innovative UK businesses in accessing the long-term financing they require to scale up. Find out more at

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. Neither British Business Bank nor its principal operating subsidiaries are authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.