Government doubles matched-funding to £2m for early stage Silicon Roundabout startups

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in April the UK’s Technology Strategy Board unveiled a new £1m fund to support “digital businesses” in the Tech City area around Old Street and Shoreditch in east London, which has come to be known as ‘Silicon Roundabout’).

It was an unusual move. Startups anywhere in the UK are always interested in sources of funding – but here was one source actually geographically targeted at one area of London, and one where there has been existing organic growth of the tech community for the last few years. In other words, the TSB had managed to convince their overlords that the government should ‘double-down’ on the existing tech cluster there. This is highly unusual, and frankly to be welcomed. Often government initiatives are targeted in totally the wrong places.

Applicants can get up to £100,000 in match funding, with the other half coming from a private inestor(s). So, get the private investment first, and then double it with government cash, if selected. Win. (Here’s more detail).

Today they’ve decided to add another £1m to the pot, enabling the project to provide £100,000 grants to twice as many companies, or 20 instead of the original 10.

Why? The TSB says it’s because of “the excellent calibre of investment-worthy proposals submitted following the initial announcement of the Tech City Launchpad in April.”

Cool.

Admittedly £100,000 does not go that far with some startups, but it could well prove that extra lifeline for many, especially super-lean ones.

They had 200 ideas and 20 detailed proposals submitted. The TSB Board says it will help approved projects gain the remaining 50% funding (up to £100,000) through a workshop involving potential investors (angels, VCs etc). The funding workshop is planned for 11 August, no venue as yet.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced the additional funding.

Here is a list of the companies so far.

Looking down I can see it’s a varied list – but what is encouraging is that this is happening very much at the Seed end of the cycle. And who couldn’t use an extra £100k?