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UK Treasury Department acquires stake in hipster record label

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The Treasury has become a shareholder of a hipster vinyl-led record label following a plan to support the coronavirus for innovative and fast-growing businesses.

Gearbox Records, based in London, specializing in unpublished jazz, folk, and electronic music, is the newest UK taxpayer investor after receiving a convertible loan from the Future Fund.

The unusual venture capital-style structure of the support plan is expected to leave hundreds of shares in the UK state in various businesses.

More than 1,100 companies received £1.1 billion in loans from the Future Fund, launched in May of last year, which was launched to support “innovative” but caused losses that the pandemic could not secure funding elsewhere. I am giving birth.

According to those close to the situation, the Treasury also acquired a stake in Vaccitech, one of the UK’s most highly regarded pharmaceutical startups.

The Oxford startup owns the biotech platform used for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and is considering listing on the stock market in the coming months.

One of the co-founders who led the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, Vaccitech raised $168 million earlier this month, estimating the startup’s value at about $425 million. Vaccitech declined to comment.

From Cornish broadband providers to Essex-based low-flush toilet manufacturers, according to those familiar with the situation, more than 50 companies have now converted their loans into capital.

Darrel Sheinman says Gearbox Records met the Future Fund requirements as a fast-growing startup that raised capital from investors to finance its growth. © Gabriel Bertogg

The identity of the company is not disclosed by the British Business Bank, which manages the plan. Faced with repeated demands for more transparency for groups receiving government-backed urgent coronavirus loans.

Gearbox Records, a record label and studio based in King’s Cross, raised £500,000 in December, half of which came from future fund lending conversions. The government owns about 4% of its business.

Darrel Sheinman, founder of Gearbox Records, said he applied for a “long shot” to the Future Fund when the pandemic hit, in case the record store closed and needed extra money.

He said the company met the requirements as a fast-growing startup that raised capital from investors to finance the expansion. He added that technology plays a big role in the business due to the digital sales of the catalog and the invention of record players with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also runs a studio where artists from Prodigy to Moses Boyd record and master records.

Sheinman’s experience working with Future Funds seemed bureaucratic at first, adding: Through the portal. As a record label, the news we send doesn’t fit the portal. ”

The British Business Bank said the Future Fund has a team of senior investment experts, but they are recruiting to increase their capabilities as needed. “The portfolio is large by the number of companies, but the Future Fund’s stake in each company converted to stock is relatively small.”

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The Future Fund, with loans ranging from £125,000 to £5 million with equal funds from at least individual investors, closed for new applications in January.

According to data provider Equity Crowd Expert, seven companies backed by the scheme, funded through crowdfunding, have so far converted their loans into equity. These include Gearbox Records, electric charging group Aeristech, broadband provider Wildanet, and low-flush toilet manufacturer Propelair.

Technology executives have questioned why they need a future fund given the sheer amount already available in venture capital funds looking for fast-growing companies.

However, after shutting down the Future Fund, the government has launched a Phase 2 plan to break through the £375 million Future Fund, which will secure more stakes in promising technology and life sciences companies.

In a statement, the government said, “Future funds support high-growth UK companies to promote private investment and support jobs and growth.

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