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British Business Bank pumps £30m into early-stage venture fund amid investment slowdown

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The state-backed British Business Bank revealed it had pumped £30m into a new early-stage venture fund today as it looks to fill a funding gap for small firms amid a major investment slowdown this year.

The UK’s economic development bank said it had provided the cornerstone investment for a new £50m pre-seed fund, launched by Concept Ventures, targeting early-stage pre-seed firms.

In a statement today, Managing Director of Venture Solutions at the British Business Bank Ken Cooper said the bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds were helping lower the “barriers to entry for emerging fund managers” and those “targeting under-served areas of the market”.

“Our cornerstone commitment to Concept Ventures will help them to provide finance and support to young and diverse, high-potential businesses at the pre-seed stage, helping to close the early stage equity funding gap,” he said.

Concept Ventures is currently courting other investors to the fund and said it was oversubscribed.

Reece Chowdhry, founder and General Partner of the firm, said the fund would help fill a “major gap in the pre-seed ecosystem”.

“We are completely focused on this critical stage of a company’s life cycle and are able to provide the funding, expertise and network they need to succeed,” he said.

Concept is now looking to pump pre-seed capital into founders reshaping how we “work, play, and learn”, the firm said, writing cheques from £100,000 up to £600,000 and offering founders the option to join their rounds.

The new round comes amid a major slowdown in investment this year as venture cash dries up amid rising interest rates.

Total cash injected by venture firms in the UK slumped to $7.1bn across 478 deals between April and June, down from an all time high of $9bn in the first three months of the year as a global tech downturn that has rocked listed tech firms hit the private markets, according to a report from analytics firm CB Insights.