Creative UK has today launched a new Creative Industries investment fund to support the UK’s bold ambitions to grow the sector by £50 billion and create one million extra creative jobs by 2030. The £35 million Creative Growth Finance II (CGF II) fund will provide the crucial investment needed to meet the targets set out in the UK government and Creative Industries Council’s recently published Sector Vision.
Caroline Norbury OBE, Chief Executive, Creative UK, said:
“Over the past decade, the UK’s Creative Industries have grown more than 1.5 times the rate of the wider economy, currently generating £108 billion in economic value and employing 2.3 million people. However, this country’s talented creative businesses are experiencing a significant gap between their immense growth potential and access to the vital capital they need to succeed.
“In launching the Creative Industries Sector Vision, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged the “enormous potential of our creative entrepreneurs and businesses” and said that “growing the economy means growing the creative industries”. However, the potential of the Creative Industries risks being unfulfilled if the creators and innovators whose talents power our growth are unable to access the capital and financing they require.
“That’s where Creative UK comes in. We know that with the right investment, the power of the sector to drive growth and innovation across all corners of the UK can be truly transformative”.
Delivered in partnership with Triodos Bank, CGF II is the largest single fund to be delivered by Creative UK, following its investment of more than £50 million into the UK’s world-leading Creative Industries over the past decade. CGF II continues the success of the first Creative Growth Finance fund, which launched in 2019 and has since invested over £17 million into more than 30 creative businesses located across the UK and operating within sectors including Film & TV, Virtual Production, narrative-based Video Games, Advertising and Software. As of August 2023, the existing CGF fund portfolio has experienced an 108% improvement in average monthly revenues, a 39% headcount growth average with more than 225 jobs created, and nearly £19 million raised in further third-party funding.
Phillip Bate, Director of Business Banking, Triodos Bank UK, said:
“Four years on from the launch of the first Creative Growth Finance fund, our partnership with Creative UK has gone from strength to strength and continues to support companies at the forefront of innovation. For a bank only focused on financing projects with a positive impact, we can see the social importance of these organisations to the UK. Creative UK’s expertise has been key to helping us grow our funding of this important sector.”
The success of Creative UK’s private investment activity builds on its legacy of using public financing to catalyse further private investment. Between 2012-17, Creative UK invested £20 million in public funds into creative companies, achieving a 99% loan repayment rate, a three-year business survival rate of 83% (compared to a national average of 60%), and generating an additional £4 of private capital for every £1 of public money.
Tim Evans, Investment Director, Creative UK, said:
“Promising creative companies are too often prevented from unlocking their full potential by barriers to accessing the financing they require to grow. Our new Creative Growth Finance II fund removes those barriers. Over the past decade Creative UK’s investment in the creative sector has experienced significant success, using both public and private funds to catalyse growth, boost innovation and unlock access to vital third-party capital. But what truly sets our investment offer apart is Creative UK’s deep understanding of the huge value of creative IP, and our knowledge of what creative companies need to flourish. Our Creative Growth Finance portfolio doesn’t only gain access to much-needed financing, they also receive specialist mentoring and support that is unmatched within the UK’s creative sector.”
Pioneering virtual production company Dimension Studio is a leader in the creation of virtual worlds, digital humans, and volumetric content for the entertainment industry, with their ground-breaking work most recently featuring in major international productions including Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Disney’s live-action Pinocchio. Dimension has completed two rounds of investment worth £1 million since December 2021 through the Creative Growth Finance fund, following earlier loans from Creative UK to support their development.
Simon Windsor, co-CEO, Dimension Studio, said:
“Creative UK has always been really supportive. The thing that we loved from the off was their open-mindedness to back early-stage ideas and show a degree of faith that the teams behind them would execute, where other means of finance wouldn’t typically support that stage of a project. The finance from Creative UK was very freeing for Dimension. It enabled our team to experiment and progress ideas creatively, harnessing learnings, while also building the capabilities that are essential for any successful business.”
SCREENSHOT Media is a next-generation media company with a mission to allow young people easy access to content that matters. Specialising in the production of short-form content, SCREENSHOT operates multiple digital publishers across entertainment, fashion and current affairs with 60% of its audience aged 18-24 years old. Founded by Shira Jeczmien in 2018, when she was in her mid-twenties, SCREENSHOT joined the Creative Growth Finance portfolio in November 2022.
Shira Jeczmien, CEO, SCREENSHOT Media, said:
“It’s not easy raising money for a company within the creative sector and especially not a media company. I think there’s an age-old stigma around media that it’s a really high-risk business, and it is. But at the same time, it’s also really scalable if you do it right – there are quite amazing media companies that have popped up in the last ten years. The fact that Creative UK understands the creative industries and is so clued up in that space was incredibly appealing when seeking investment.”
Visual Effects studio Moonraker VFX has worked with many of the world’s top directors and filmmakers in the creation of computer-generated imagery for world-renowned broadcasters, including the BBC, Apple TV+, Netflix and Disney+. Needing funding to support ambitions of creating its own IP – an immersive film to tell the story of future Moon landing missions and the permanent base being created there – Moonraker successfully applied for loans worth £700,000 through the Creative Growth Finance fund and released their ambitious film, Moonbase: The Next Step in December 2022.
Jon Grafton, MD and Co-Founder, Moonraker VFX, said:
“We wanted to partner with an organisation that understood the Creative Industries. A high street bank is unlikely to appreciate the film-making and creative process, whereas working with Creative UK, it’s obviously an area they know incredibly well. They understand the model of what we were doing and it feels so much better to work with a party who really get what’s going on behind the scenes.”
Production company Sticks & Glass houses a state-of-the-art post-production space in Leeds, and provides filming and production services for clients such as BBC Sport, CBS, IMG and Channel 4. Investment obtained through Creative Growth Finance has been used to build out the Leeds facility, enabling founders Adam Bennett and Verdy Oliver to boost their repertoire and improve their offering to clients.
Adam Bennett, co-founder, Sticks & Glass, said:
“Before Creative Growth Finance’s investment, we only had one employee and now there are seven of us. We had the finance approved which drove the expansion and the expansion allowed the headcount. We’ve also seen our turnover double and continue to hit all our numbers. Since we started working with Creative UK we have had a wonderful ally on our board in Nick Cavander (Creative UK Investment Manager) who really helps us scrutinise the numbers, and offers an alternative voice looking at the business from a different angle.”
Ad tech company Covatic received its first investment from Creative UK in 2017, enabling its founders to combine their intelligent foresight pre-GDPR, with even more intelligent tech to provide a solution that would change the landscape for big media firms. As of 2023, Covatic has received their second Creative Growth Finance loan as part of an impressive $5 million Series A fundraise.
Nick Pinks, CEO and Co-Founder, Covatic, said:
“Creative UK was our right hand in the beginning – the support that they provided enabled us to open many doors. There are a lot of benefits to our relationship with Creative UK, including their incredible commitment to Covatic. This has meant that when things have gotten really difficult, our investors have been able to look to Creative UK’s leadership and draw confidence from their industry specific knowledge.
Independent games developer Fallen Planet Studios specialises in the creation of immersive games and experiences for Virtual Reality (VR). Formed in 2013, the studio was one of the world’s first games companies to focus solely on VR and in 2022 they were recognised by a panel of judges in the META Games Industry Index for both innovation and longevity. In 2023 Fallen Planet Studios received £500,000 of investment from Creative Growth Finance.
Alex Moretti, CEO, Fallen Planet Studios, said:
“The investment received from Creative Growth Finance is enabling us to expand on the great work we have done over the past seven years and deliver even more outstanding VR gaming experiences to players worldwide. This investment is being used to build out our original IP and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team to date. We’re excited for the future as we continue to innovate within the space and strive to be at the forefront of XR development.”
For further information on Creative Growth Finance II please visit www.wearecreative.uk/support/creative-enterprise/investment/creativegrowthfinance