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Start-up group Tech Nation has reportedly lined up a host of potential bidders for its assets as it prepares to close down in March following the government’s controversial move to hand its funding to Barclays.
Around 30 buyers have now lined up to potentially swoop on the firm’s assets, including the networking group run by Lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman, the Founders Forum, the Financial Times has reported.
London Business School had also reportedly considered bidding for the assets but pulled out of the process.
The move to withdraw Tech Nation’s funding has drawn the ire of the tech industry. A letter prior to Tech Nation’s announcement called on ministers to “back British tech” and attracted over 400 signatories from across the industry.
The group was formed by David Cameron’s coalition government in a bid to boost the UK’s tech industry through “growth programmes” and more than £28bn has since been raised by alumni of the group’s accelerator programmes, which include the likes of Monzo, Deliveroo and Darktrace.
Tech Nation, which runs start-up accelerators and a visa programme for the Home Office, announced last month that it would be permanently shuttered after ministers pulled a £12m grant – its main source of funding – and handed it to Barclays.
The group said in January it was now looking to shed its remaining assets and intellectual property to “mission-based organisations” and was calling for firms to bid before a 14th February deadline.
The visa programme run by Tech Nation on behalf of the Home Office has processed over 6000 Global Talent Visa applications since its inception and endorsed more than 3000.
But questions are now hanging over the future of the programme, after the group lost its funding.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said that the future governance of the programme had yet to be decided.
“We are working closely with Tech Nation to ensure continuity of the digitech strand of the Global Talent visa in the short term, whilst we explore the long term changes necessary in light of Tech Nation’s planned closure,” the spokesperson said.