The Development Bank of Wales has launched a new £20 million Wales Technology Seed Fund with up to £250,000 available per round to support the growth of developing technology businesses across Wales.
The new bigger fund replaces the original, and now fully invested seed fund that has made 45 investments in 41 start-up and early stage technology businesses since 2014. The £7.5 million fund leveraged £3.6 million private investment and created or safeguarded up to 570 jobs. Over half of the businesses to benefit have been based in West Wales or the Valleys.
In total the Welsh Government have provided an additional £233 million of additional funding to the development bank in 2017/18 including an extra £30 million to be invested through the £100 million Wales Flexible Investment and previously announced top-ups to the Wales Business Fund and the Property Fund. The £20 million Wales Technology Seed Fund II is the third new fund to be announced in recent weeks from this allocation, along with the new £8 million Angel Co-investment Fund and £40 million for the new Wales Stalled Sites Fund.
Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: "I am proud to have established the Development Bank of Wales which in parallel with Business Wales is providing businesses with the support they need. The Development Bank is ensuring that this latest commitment of over £200 million of Welsh Government funding is being used to drive investments that will grow our economy both today and into the future.
“The technology sector is increasingly important to our wider economy and I am committed to providing tech businesses in Wales with the backing they need to start up, prosper and grow. The development bank’s new £20 million Wales Technology Seed Fund is an important part of that support. It will help deliver the ambitions of our Economic Action Plan and will address a real gap in the market by ensuring that viable, start- up and early stage technology companies have access to the capital they need to get their ventures off the ground and on course for a successful future.”
Giles Thorley is Chief Executive of the Development Bank of Wales. He said: “The new £20 million Wales Technology Seed Fund is three times the size of the previous fund with up to £250,000 now available support the growth of developing technology businesses across Wales. This is exactly what early stage technology businesses in Wales need.
“With £550 million currently in live funds, it’s all about having fuel in the tank to deliver for Wales. The additional funding from Welsh Government gives Welsh business a real advantage as we continue with our work in all regions. From Chepstow to Merthyr Tydfil, from Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock to Rhayader and Bangor, our investment teams are working with local businesses to support new and growing businesses to create high quality jobs. We are working hard towards delivering on our current five year target of £1 billion investment in to the Welsh economy by 2022.”
The £40 million Wales Stalled Sites Fund will support small and medium sized builders to unlock stalled sites and build more houses across Wales. With a four-year repayment term, the fund is projected to be recycled four times, providing up to £160 million for SMEs over 17 years to help them build more homes across Wales.
The £8 million Angel Co-Investment Fund will stimulate business angel investment across Wales. It is hoped that the new fund will support up to 80 businesses and create and safeguard 375 jobs over the next five years by attracting and encouraging angel investment across Wales.