ISCF Audience of the Future Challenge: the AotF Investor Accelerator now open for applications
The next phase of Audience of the Future Challenge launched on Monday 4 March 2019, with a new co-investment fund which will support the commercial development of significant innovation in the UK immersive tech sector through simultaneous grant funding and venture capital investment in UK creative businesses.
About the AotF Investor Accelerator
The Immersive tech sector is developing rapidly but the finance and investment ecosystem remains undeveloped. A fast growing but nascent and uncertain consumer market place is driving uncertainty with investors.
The Audience of the Future (AotF) Investor Accelerator aims to provide the runway for later stage capital and equity investment beyond grant funding and enable early stage companies to get direct access to the commercial acumen and market access opportunities that equity investors provide.
The Audience of the Future Investor Accelerator is a pilot programme from Innovate UK.
Up to £2M of grant funding and a comparable amount of private investment is available to support business led R&D and to invest in companies in the creative industries that have real potential for growth through:
- Creating and capturing additional value from the production of immersive content, IP or experiences through the application of technology
- Developing a scalable road map in products, platforms, services, software, hardware and tools in immersive technology
The competition recognises the potential value of creative companies who are also driving innovation through the use of immersive technologies in other industries within the B2B and B2C market places.
The programme aims to provide the runway for later stage capital and equity investment beyond grant funding, introduces new investors to the growing UK Immersive tech market place and supports existing sector investors to invest earlier in R&D.
How it works
- The Investor Accelerator provides simultaneous grant funding and venture capital investment for early stage projects:
- Innovate UK funds the R&D being carried out by company
- Investors invest in the company itself
- It consists of two competition stages: stage 1 for investors (opened 4 March 2019), stage 2 for companies (opens 20 May 2019)
- Up to £2m of funding is available for industrial R&D; projects’ total costs can be between £150,000 and £300,000
- The Investor Accelerator will fund up to 70% of eligible project costs in grant funding for micro or small businesses (under 50 employees) and up to 60% for medium-sized businesses (50 – 250 employees)
- Investors commit to exploring co-investment in the portfolio of companies selected in Stage 2 at 30% for SME / Micro and 40% for middle size companies
- The competition is open to single SMEs who are looking for grant funding and who want to establish an equity relationship with a UK venture capital firm. The funding on offer should help businesses move closer towards a proposition that is commercially viable.
- Project length is 12 months and must start by Jan 1st 2020.
How to apply – and key dates
Deadline for registration | Midday, 27 March 2019
Deadline for applications | Midday, 3 April 2019
Applicants must be a UK investor or an international investor with a UK office. Investors can make an application and register their interest by completing an IA Investor application form. All applicants must register their interest in advance of applying.
The online application form, in addition to further guidance and information on eligibility can be found on the Innovation Funding Service website.
- For Creative and Tech Business
Applications open | 20 May 2019
Application forms for UK Businesses will be available on Immerse UK from 20 May. A series of briefing events will be held around the UK in May, more information will be made available from April 2019 on Immerse UK.
Information and networking events for investors
These events are designed to give investors the chance to meet the teams behind the programme from Audience of the Future Challenge, Innovate UK and Immerse UK and have an opportunity to have 1-2-1 meetings and explore the opportunity in more detail. Please note that these events are relevant for investors potentially applying as part of stage 1 of the competition.
They are free to attend, however as demand is expected to be high, early registration is essential!
Visit our Resources and Support page to find more information, inspiration, guidance and support to help with your application.
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